Overwhelmingly successful referendum supports replacement preK-8 school with 98% of students from low-income families
Laraway School, built in the 1950s, needed costly repairs: corridors were dark and crowded and HVAC systems drained operations budgets, plus trucks from surrounding facilities caused traffic problems. Additionally, nearly 98% of its students are low-income.
Legat’s master plan and pre-referendum assistance led to an 80% “yes” vote on the ballot. The resulting 119,000-square-foot preK-8 school, inspired by community input, doubles the size of its predecessor and offers 460 students a spacious, light-filled setting that supports STEM applications and learning beyond the classroom. The new site also has far less traffic than the previous site.
The Laraway School design team included Northwestern University researchers, who prepared pre- and post-occupancy surveys. Both teachers and students attested that bullying had decreased dramatically in the new school, thanks to the neighborhood design.
- Layout positions four grade-defined neighborhoods around central courtyard
- Each neighborhood has “front porch” and active learning hub
- Design pays tribute to Joliet’s limestone quarrying and farming heritage
- Modular tech lab ties into Joliet Township High School’s Career Academies
- Lower central lockers with countertops encourage communication and keep walls open
- Stage connects gymnasium and commons for performances or events
- Lobby display case made of marble salvaged from the entry of the old school
- Exterior brick and stone set school apart from nearby precast concrete buildings