• PHOTO BY GEORGE LAMBROS
  • PHOTO BY GEORGE LAMBROS
  • PHOTO BY GEORGE LAMBROS

Bringing an elementary school up to code with student comfort and safety in mind.

Terrace Elementary School
Des Plaines CCSD 62
Des Plaines, IL

The Des Plaines School District hired Wight & Company to provide design-build services for renovations to Terrace Elementary School. While the overall site at Terrace was satisfactory, the project scope involved upgrading the elementary school building’s infrastructure including a new mechanical system and controls, electrical service and distribution upgrade, new fire sprinkler system and addressable alarm system, and an upgrade to the entire plumbing system. The project was one component of a three-phase, $109 million, District-wide “Renaissance” of 11 school facilities focused on meeting the growing needs of the Des Plaines School District.

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Prototypical Design

While each of the 11 schools included in the District-wide “Renaissance” enjoyed new educational environments that critically supported a broad curriculum and a variety of learning/teaching styles, a prototype for a unique supportive space type was developed in response to new-found space efficiencies. Newly captured space at several schools, including Terrace, was converted into technology-rich, flexible classrooms called Technology Integrated Learning Environments (T.I.L.E.s).

T.I.L.E.s were conceptualized to serve as “living laboratories” where students and teachers could experiment with different technologies, furniture options, and teaching approaches before implementing them district-wide. A driving force behind the use of T.I.LE.s was to make classroom media easily available to students. Furniture must be agile and the overall spaces should be accommodating to active learning styles and techniques.

T.I.L.E. spaces were designed to include smart boards, integrated hand-held device technology, floor-to-ceiling marker boards, tackable wall surfaces, and a variety of casual, mobile and ergonomically correct furniture.