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Champaign and Niles Projects Win School Design Honors

Cannon Design and Legat Architects Inc., both of Chicago, received Awards of Distinction in the 2011 Exhibition of Educational Environments. Cannon won for a new STEM Academy school in Champaign CUSD 4, while Legat was honored for renovations to create STEM labs at two high schools in Niles THSD 219, Skokie.

The awards were presented Friday, Nov. 18, at the opening session of the 79th Annual IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

Champaign’s Booker T. Washington STEM Academy was praised for its exceptional overall interior architecture as well as use of outdoor space.

“Every space in the building feels like a great place to be,” jury members said.

The Academy, which opened this school year, is located in northeast Champaign and was built on the site of the former historic Booker T. Washington Elementary School, originally dedicated in 1951. It is now a K-5 two-strand school that serves 225 students.

The concept of the STEM-centric, project-based learning environment allows each academy to be inwardly focused, forming a cluster of three learning studios that open onto a communal gathering and project workspace for discussion and collaboration.

Niles North and Niles West high schools in Niles THSD 219 both underwent extensive renovation to accommodate Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM labs, each with two primary zones: a “think tank” and a lab zone.

The think tanks, according to the architects, encourage students to think out loud and support global conferencing. They offer full audio visual input and output, a plasma TV, projectors, screens and interactive white boards. The lab zones provide everything students need to apply lessons toward real-life problem solving, including flexible configurations, storage, places to plug in and equipment.

Both high schools now have state-of-the-art equipment in what judges said are a “perfect image of a STEM school.”

Awards of Merit for 2011 went to FGM Architects Inc. of Park Ridge, for an addition and renovation to Lincoln Elementary School in Cicero SD 99, and to RuckPate Architecture of Barrington, for Laremont School in the Special Education District of Lake County.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Wight and Company of Darien for an addition and renovations to Naperville Central High School, Naperville CUSD 203, and to STR Partners Inc. of Chicago, for Lincoln Middle School in Schiller Park SD 81.

The 2011 exhibition drew 26 entries. All entries will be added to the School Design Data File, a collection of more than 400 school designs that is housed at the Illinois Association of School Boards in Springfield.

David Henebry of LZT Associates in Peoria was 2011 EEE chairman. Jury members were, superintendents Valerie Carr of New Berlin CUSD 16, Wayne Riesen of Sycamore CUSD 427 and Scott Wakeley of Yorkville CUSD 115, and architects Lee Gaul of GreenAssociates Inc., Mark Jolicoeur of Perkins+Will and John Parkinson of Image Architects.


2011 Conference Menu

School Design Data File


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