Wight & Company’s work with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 9 began modestly by designing a large-scale storage facility for the union’s new 100-acre training center in University Park, IL. This storage project launched a multi-year partnership with 5 phases of facilities that are designed to support IBEW Local 9’s vision of creating a state-of-the-art training center. Local 9 leadership has engaged with Wight to master plan, design, and build a central classroom training building, intersection training, directional boring training facility, crane training, and now a CTA training facility.

The electrical industry is constantly evolving, and training must evolve to keep up with changing demands and remain relevant. The core of the training program at IBEW Local 9 provides learning through real-world scenarios that, paired with classroom education, help trainees build skills needed to strengthen their knowledge base and expand their employment opportunities.

The new CTA Training campus enables apprentices to receive expanded, comprehensive training with CTA equipment. The campus design reproduces real-world conditions with a CTA track, associated control buildings, and two stations that simulate a traditional canopy, and a structure that arches over the tracks.

Located along 1-57, the form of Station B arches over the CTA tracks, providing an iconic silhouette facing the highway while simulating the newer station typologies that arch over tracks. This graceful steel tube shell structure is painted white and contains translucent mesh panels designed to catch site lighting at night, ensuring the presence of the campus if felt in the evening hours. A more traditionally configured Station A cantilevers an ETFE canopy over the pedestrian platform and includes programmable LED lighting that follows the rib structure, meant to evoke the filament of an Edison bulb. These two stations form the endpoints of the Y-shaped track configuration that runs 3600 feet long across the property. Service structures for the tracks and station include a polycarbonate-clad substation building, signal bungalow, gatehouse, and electric rooms.

Using an integrated design and construction approach, Wight committed to cost certainty with a separate guaranteed maximum price for each phase of this flexible multi-year building program comprised of a highly diversified campus for the fully immersive training of outdoor electrical technicians in nearly two dozen specialties.

The campus’s classroom training building was honored with the 2018 Chicago Building Congress Award of Merit, recognizing the Local 9 and Wight collaboration for design, construction quality, community impact, and construction safety.

Timelapse Video of CTA Equipment Training Facility