The two existing mid-century modern high school buildings presented unique renovation challenges. Because they were built “tight” with little room between floors, retrofitting air-conditioning and ventilation systems would potentially be a difficult process, involving changes to ceiling heights and/or floor levels. Retrofitting projects of this size also have a marked impact on project schedules.
Additionally, a key goal for these renovations was flexibility. This applied not only to the design strategy, which had to make optimal use of space, but also to design solutions in the classrooms and elsewhere that gave students and teachers more options for learning—today and into the future. Renovating legacy high schools is not about bricks and mortar, but about creating learning environments that help students develop the skill sets needed for success in a complex and highly competitive world.
The DuPage High School District’s “Student Life/Student Spirit” theme guided many of the design features incorporated into this project. A key aspect of these renovations was providing common spaces for social or informal learning, as well as technology enhancements that would modernize the teaching and learning environment for today and the future.
At Addison Trail, the area between the lobby and cafeteria was transformed into a two-story atrium featuring a mall of student services. Corridors were widened to create “collaboration zones” at the ends of hallways, and research nooks were added to the library.
At Willowbrook, a lobby space was transformed into a student lounge resembling a high-tech coffee shop with “hot spots” and large flat screen TV’s that can feature clips from the latest football game, or rehearsal “trailers” for theater group performances. Students can congregate in various places that foster interaction and informal learning opportunities. For example, the design includes “touchdown stations” or kiosks for impromptu collaboration that offer wireless computing and local printing stations.
Classrooms at both schools were designed to capitalize on the new open, flexible floor plans. Cabinetry was removed in an effort to make these spaces as clean and empty as possible. The interior design effort included selecting mobile, flexible furniture so that teachers could quickly create spaces for activities such as small group projects, remedial tutoring and even contemplative work.
In summary, the two projects included:
- New student commons
- New three-story, nineteen-classroom addition
- New fieldhouse and athletic addition
- Twelve renovated science labs
- Expanded music and arts facilities
- New ventilation and air conditioning systems
- General infrastructure, life safety, technology and finish upgrades
From a schedule perspective, the renovation projects were implemented over several academic years. Phased construction that limited disruption to students and teachers was a critical component to successful project delivery.
Unique to Addison Trail High School is the Addison Center for the Arts. It was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization to advance the arts as an integral part of life in Addison and the surrounding communities. Dedicated to providing quality arts and cultural and educational programs in the community, the Addison Center for the Arts features a separate community entrance incorporating a gallery and office space.
- 2011 Finalist, Rehab Construction, Chicago Building Congress (Addison Trail High School)