Hmong American Peace Academy/ Milwaukee, WI

The Hmong American Peace Academy (HAPA) on Milwaukee’s northwest side is Wisconsin’s first academic organization dedicated to preserving Hmong culture, language, education, and community. The new HAPA High School is a 99,000 sq ft addition that complements the existing  middle school.

First conceived in 2000, HAPA began as K-5 program with 200 students and has grown to enroll over 1,800 students. The HAPA program, under the direction of Chris Her-Xiong, was borne out of a desire to provide the Milwaukee-based Hmong community with an academic institution that allowed younger generations to receive quality education while still re-connecting with their culture and heritage.

Most of the classrooms are located on the south-facing side of the building to optimize natural daylighting inside the rooms. In addition to classrooms, the upper floors include the HAPA administrative offices and conference rooms.

The school’s resource center features floor to ceiling glass from the hallway and along the exterior wall, which overlook the new outdoor courtyard. The center includes a coffeeshop with indoor/outdoor seating to serve the dual purpose of providing café drinks and food for students, staff and visitors, while giving students hands-on entrepreneurial experience in operating a business.

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