On June 30, 2009, the Buford Ellington 4-H Center located in Milan, Tennessee was closed as part of a $2.6 million budget reduction of the UT Extension prompted by the State of Tennessee’s revenue shortfall. Even before this closure, however, UT Extension recognized that the Milan facility would soon need to be replaced or substantively upgraded to provide a quality educational venue in the future. Recognizing the importance of such a facility in West Tennessee, the development and creation of a new West Tennessee 4-H Center was named a key initiative in UT Extension’s 2010-2020 Strategic Plan. A committee was assembled to discuss the needs of UT Extension and the region, and through an in-depth process Lone Oaks Farm was identified as a property that could facilitate that vision.
After a recent acquisition by the client, the farm was envisioned in the architectural framework as a center of hospitality, agriculture, and youth education for the area. The building consists of approximately 6,800 square feet of meeting rooms, classroom, catering kitchen, and pro-shop, sited to leverage the ecology and beauty of this portion of the farm. The sporting games include trap, skeet, and a clays course integrated into the landscape. The result is a high-end experience for area youth, 4-H campers, amateur, and competitive shooters.
Both the main building and pavilion are wood-framed, with the pavilion having supplementary steel concealed within to resist lateral forces. Materials used rely on a typical agrarian palette and are deployed so that their inherent strengths are fully utilized. Durable corrugated metal panel is a protective shell over top an expanse of warm, locally-sourced cypress cladding. At three thresholds within the cypress field, pops of orange fiber cement board playfully integrate the owner's brand identity. Conventional mechanical and plumbing systems are employed for both cost-effectiveness and availability of local servicing.
"The hunter education center is a key feature of the Lone Oaks Farm master plan and was the first major construction project we pursued. Hunting and recreational shooting are popular activities in Tennessee; youth recreational shooting has particularly grown during the past decade, with more and more universities establishing shooting teams and offering student scholarships. These activities also align well with our educational programs in 4-H, which offers conservation and recreational shooting programs to tens of thousands of youth across the state. In short, this new facility aligns perfectly with our mission and positions us for growing our programs and reaching underserved audiences in the coming decades." - Dr. Ben West, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Professor, UTIA
"The success of the project is a direct result of the consultant’s approach to design, which was collaborative, flexible, and innovative. Importantly, much of this work was accomplished during the first year of covid, but the design team’s expertise and professionalism facilitated a successful project despite the limitations of the pandemic." - Dr. Ben West, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Professor, UTIA
Lone Oaks Farm. Middleton, TN. (Masterplan (with Nelson Byrd Woltz), Hunter Education Pavilion, STEM Education Facility, 4H Cabins). 2016-present.
Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award, AIA Central States Region Design Award (Hunter Education Facility, 2022); AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Award, Project of the Year (Hunter Education Facility, 2021); Society for College & University Planning Excellence in Planning Special Citation, ASLA Virginia Award (Master Plan, 2018)
Mattie Rhodes Cultural Arts Center. Kansas City, MO. 2017-2022.
AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Award (2022)
Crossroads Hotel. Kansas City, MO. 2015-2018.
AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Award (2019)
Crystal Bridges of American Art, North Trail Biological Pavilion & Infrastructure Enhancements. Bentonville, AR. 2015-2017.
Interior Design Best of Year Finalist, AIA Kansas City Design Excellence Award, AIA Central States Region Design Award (2018)