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EEE rewards firms for innovative designs

Cordogan, Clark & Associates, Inc. of Aurora and Healy, Bender & Associates, Inc. of Naperville won the top Awards of Distinction in the 2006 Invitational Exhibition of Educational Environments (EEE) program.

Cordogan Clark's award was for construction of Greenman Elementary School in Aurora West USD 129; Healy Bender's award was for renovation and additions to Farragut Elementary School in Joliet SD 86.

Representatives from the firms and the districts accepted their awards during the First General Session on Friday, Nov. 17, at the 2006 Joint Annual Conference (see separate story for an overview of this year's conference).

Rhonda R. Mont, marketing director for Cordogan Clark, said this is the ninth award for the Greenman project, including the grand prize at the National School Boards Association's Exhibition of School Architecture announced earlier this year.

"The reason it's winning awards is because the building itself is a learning tool," Mont said, attributing a large part of the success to an extraordinary level of community collaboration that went into the project.

Greenman Elementary, which has just over 560 students, features a school-within-a-school concept as well as a performing arts theme. The project was completed with input and assistance from neighboring Aurora University, and the school also boasts partnerships with the Fox Metro Water Reclamation District, Fox Valley Park District, Boy Scouts of America and the city of Aurora.

Jacob Been, job captain on the Farragut Elementary School addition and renovation for Healy, Bender & Associates, Inc., said this project was unique because of the school's location in a historic neighborhood. The school, which also has about 560 students, is located in Joliet's Cathedral Area, across the street from the University of St. Francis and adjacent to Preservation Park.

Architects met with the local preservation group, Been said, in order to meet the needs of the school while keeping the feeling and historic nature of the building, built in 1915, and the neighborhood in tact.

"Farragut hadn't been touched since the 1950s," Been said, and the school probably would have been closed in (the next) 10 years had the renovations not been undertaken. The addition connected the 1915 building with an annex that was built in the mid-1920s. In addition to joining the two buildings, the addition and renovations solved accessibility problems.

"This project truly gave new life to the neighborhood," Been said.

Healy, Bender & Associates, Inc. also received an honorable mention for its Walker Elementary School project in Hinsdale CCSD 181.

A total of 29 projects were chosen for the 2006 competition and were on display in the Riverside Center Exhibit Hall during the conference. Projects are evaluated by a jury of school officials and architects in a process where neither the school district nor the architects are identified on the project materials.

Criteria include suitability for stated program requirements, functional relationships, aesthetics, grade level or departmental organization, flexibility, expansibility, compatibility with external environment, uses of new technology, barrier free accessibility, energy efficiency, environmental controls, site adaptation, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, activity area groupings, security and building orientation, among others.

Other award winners for 2006 were:

Award of Merit — Armstrong, Torseth, Skold & Rydeen of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Seth Whitman Elementary School in Belvidere CUSD 100; Dahlquist & Lutzow Architects of Elgin for expansion of the South Campus of Lyons THSD 204 in LaGrange; and PSA Dewberry of Peoria for additions and renovations to Dunlap High School in Dunlap CUSD 323 in Dunlap.

Honorable Mention — FGM Architects of Oak Brook for Grayslake High School in Grayslake CHSD 127; Legat Architects, Inc. of Waukegan for additions and renovations at Wheaton North High School in Wheaton Warrenville CUSD 200; and Bradley & Bradley Architects & Engineers, P.C. of Rockford for an addition and renovation of Streator Township High School in Streator THSD 40.

This year's exhibition co-chairs were Russell Middleton, Middleton Associates, Inc., Normal, and Marion Poggas, Image Architects, Carbondale.

Jury members included: Dan Bertrand, Superintendent, Marengo CHSD 154; Randolph Harhausen, Superintendent, Williamsville CUSD 15; David Henebry, LZT & Associates, Peoria; Bob Huff, Huff Architectural Group, Springfield; Myron Palomba, Superintendent, Bourbonnais SD 53; Bill Reichert, EWR Associates, Inc., Fairview Heights; Nicholas Wahl, Superintendent, Hinsdale THSD 86, and Dennis Wonderlick, Cone, Kalb & Wonderlick, PC, Chicago.

NOTE: Since the first EEE in 1994, more than 300 school design projects have been displayed at the Joint Annual Conference. And nearly all of the projects have been captured in a database in the IASB Resource Center. Moreover, the database is easily searchable to identify school designs that meet specified criteria, including type, size and cost as well as numerous other educational and design features. Access to the database is available to both school officials and their architects.

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