Expansion supports integrated curriculum to better prepare students for competitive global economy
[Glendale Heights, IL] – The State of Illinois’ updated learning standards urge schools to better connect sciences and the performing/fine arts with technology, engineering, and math. Marquardt School District 15 has undertaken the next step in its journey to create those connections and improve its students’ college and career readiness.
Yesterday, District 15 broke ground for a 32,110-square-foot expansion at Marquardt Middle School (MMS). It includes a Performing Arts Center and STEAM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, arts, math) labs. The addition, designed by Legat Architects (in conjunction with Slingshot Architecture) and to be built by IHC Construction, not only enhances the district’s curriculum, but also connects the MMS Commons and the 6th Grade Center.
Dr. Jerry O’Shea, District 15 Superintendent, said “The Board of Education and the District see the construction as an opportunity to invest in the future of our community. Not only will it impact our students today, but it will also enrich the educational experience of students for the next 50 years.”
The jewel of the Marquardt Performing Arts Center (PAC) is a 500-seat state-of-the-art auditorium with LED performance lighting, high-end audio/visual systems, and wood acoustic “clouds” that stretch across the ceiling from wall to wall. It will host everything from student plays to musical performances, plus District 15 anticipates hosting various events and performances for its elementary students. The PAC also includes acoustically advanced rooms for band, orchestra, chorus, and drama, all of which are connected to the stage via an intercom system so those rooms can be used as secondary green rooms.
Two 1,300-square-foot STEAM labs support District 15’s multidisciplinary curriculum. Epoxy floors, exposed ceilings, and hanging electrical outlets give the labs an industrial feel. The adjacent production room, which has all glass walls looking into the STEAM labs, offers another space where students can collaborate.
O’Shea said, “These labs offer real-world applications that allow our students to explore a variety of careers with hands-on projects across curricular areas.”
Patrick Brosnan, President/CEO of Legat added, “It’s sad when we see young people entering the workforce with great technology or engineering skills, but they’re not comfortable communicating or talking in front of other people. The Performing Arts Center and STEAM labs will help to build those skills and transform Marquardt students into independent thinkers, empathetic leaders, and good communicators.”
Construction of the Marquardt PAC and STEAM labs, the first phase of a two-phase project, is expected to finish in fall of 2017. Legat recently started design of phase two: early learning and multipurpose room additions at G. Stanley Hall School and Winnebago School.
Early Planning Pays Off
In November of 2015, the federal government welcomed submissions for Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) bonds. Jeff Sandberg, project manager with Legat, said, “There was fierce competition, a limited application window, and the project needed to be ‘shovel ready.’ Fortunately, we had already done a great deal of planning with District 15 so we were ready to go with the application.”
That planning proved beneficial to District 15: it became one of only 29 out of 193 Illinois applicants and the only DuPage County applicant to get a subsidy. It will support both phases of construction.
Contact us to learn more about performing arts centers, STEAM/STEM labs, or bond planning, or comment below to share your thoughts on this post.