Leading Illinois public school organizations honor CCSD59 Early Learning Center design with Award of Merit
Community Consolidated School District 59’s Early Learning Center (Mount Prospect, Illinois) has received an Award of Merit from the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA), and Illinois Association of School Business Officials (Illinois ASBO). The award, selected by a panel of school administrators and architects, recognizes excellence in educational facility design among Illinois public school districts.
On November 16, CCSD59 district representatives, Legat Architects, and Nicholas & Associates accepted the award at the IASB/IASA/Illinois ASBO Joint Annual Conference, one of the nation’s leading educational conferences. Each year, the event draws nearly 10,000 school leaders including board members, administrators, and more.
The CCSD59 Early Learning Center was also one of 27 Illinois public school construction projects on display at the conference’s Educational Environment Exhibition.
Designed for Early Learners
The CCSD59 Early Learning Center, designed by Legat and built by Nicholas, was designed to inspire curiosity, encourage interaction, and optimize indoor/outdoor connections. Community workshops drove the design, which offers a setting customized to early learners: colorful curving patterns, tactile materials, places to gather and explore, a large courtyard, and three themed learning gardens. The entry even has a child-sized blue door that welcomes students.
Dr. Art Fessler, superintendent of CCSD59, said that since the Early Learning Center was completed, “attitudes of not only our students and staff, but also our parents have changed incredibly.”
Features of the CCSD59 Early Learning Center include the following:
- Larger courtyard offers features to keep the senses stimulated: an amphitheater and stage, colored concrete and rubber “ribbons” that lead to the building, an embankment slide, a wood playhouse, and more.
- Three community workshop-inspired themed learning gardens (i.e., fine arts, nature, sensory) not only offer safe outdoor play areas, but also encourage interaction and continued learning.
- Each pair of classrooms connects via a sliding glass door and an integrated therapy room in which specialists help students with specific needs.
- Light-filled corridors include a culinary arts space with a child-size counter, small stages, and “therapy stairs” used for training children how to climb or as seating for learning sessions.
- Family support center helps parents get to know staff while their children acclimate to their new environment.
- Motor skills area with multi-activity space and courtyard views serves children of all needs.
The Early Learning Center is designed around its outdoor spaces. Daylight-filled classrooms and corridors maximize views to the outdoors. Following are additional sustainable features:
- Proper building orientation (program spaces facing north and south)
- Physical access and views to outdoor program areas/nature
- Daylight harvesting systems (integrated CO2 and/or occupancy sensors)
- Energy-efficient LED lighting
- Roofs sloped for future solar panels installation
- Energy-efficient glazing (higher coefficients)
- Underground stormwater management system
- Use of non-toxic on-site generated cleaning systems
An energy modeling study examined short- and long-term cost and savings implications of several HVAC systems. The variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system turned out to be the wisest choice: it is estimated to save the district nearly $30,000 a year, meaning the district spends less than half of the operational expenses that it would spend with a conventional HVAC system.
Learn more about the CCSD59 Early Learning Center from the district’s superintendent, early childhood coordinator, and a parent:
Find out what a post-occupancy survey revealed about the CCSD59 Early Learning Center.
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