Renovating an outdated elementary school to provide modern, flexible spaces for every learning style.

Cumberland Elementary School
Des Plaines CCSD 62
Des Plaines, IL

The Des Plaines School District commissioned Wight & Company to provide architectural, engineering, and construction services for renovations and additions to Cumberland Elementary School. The Cumberland Elementary School 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 Cumberland, 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.