The facility is sectioned into four separate “educational neighborhoods” which are connected to one another by a series of communal spaces – multi-purpose room, learning library, and support spaces – which are readily accessible to all users, as well as to the general public, for after-hours events. The effect is one of a learning village. Each “neighborhood” has its own theme that is accentuated by the incorporation of a distinct color palette. The room arrangement and proportion of spaces further break down the scale of the facility and create a more residential feel in and around the building.
The ECC was the first early childhood center in the nation to achieve LEED-Silver certification. Sustainable strategies included stormwater retention, bio-swales built into the landscaped islands in the center’s parking lot, and a rain garden landscape surrounding the school.
Run-off water is absorbed, reducing the size of the on-site groundwater storage facility to a shallow, grassy basin that will only hold water during the most extreme storm events. In addition, pavers in the bus area were installed to absorb water and exhaust and cementitious siding is 100 percent recycled product that will be maintenance free for up to 20 years.
- 2011 Finalist, New Construction Under $15 Million, Chicago Building Congress
- 2010 Award of Distinction, Excellence in the Design of Educational Environments, Illinois Association of School Boards