Haaku Learning Center

The Acoma Early Child Development Center was named the Haaku’ Learning Center (HLC) by the Pueblo. The HLC project was completed in 12 months. Acoma Early Child Development Center won the “Best Building” Award for New Mexico facilities and is used by the Nation Head Start Program as a model building.

The Acoma Early Child Development Center is similar to the Laguna Elementary School project scope with the need of a new classroom block. Design services for the Haaku’ Learning Center included Site Selection, Programming, Securing Funding Sources, Design & Engineering,Bidding and Construction Administration.

The Haaku’ Learning Center was designed to provide active learning environments for children, families and parents. The central courtyard space replicates the plaza at Sky City. The entire facility, the building and the playgrounds were designed in the shape of a turtle. This concept comes directly from the Pueblo pottery, where storytelling turtles are fashioned with mounds of babies on their backs. The turtle represents the patient mother earth slowly and steadily carrying and teaching her children on her way to the sacred mountain. The facility was constructed on a mesa facing north. Mount Taylor can be seen from the large classroom windows, completing the symbolism of the center.

IHS, BIA, BIA Schools, Sky City Community School, State of New Mexico Youth and Families, National Head Start, and Acoma’s Fire Safety Department were all involved in the design process.

Elizabeth Suina participated in the complete design of this facility as a Partner at her first Native American architecture firm, CORE, Ltd.

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