Renovating a highly visible community school to look and function better than ever before.

Central Elementary School
Des Plaines CCSD 62
Des Plaines, IL

The Des Plaines School District hired Wight & Company to provide design-build services for the renovation and expansion of Central Elementary School. Located close to the street and near the Des Plaines business district, Central is a very visible school. We sought to improve the building’s image through numerous aesthetic and finish upgrades, as well as expand the main office and security vestibule. We also expanded the cafeteria and food program.

Central’s entire infrastructure was upgraded, including new MEP systems and improved life safety. 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 Central, 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.