By Lisa Kopochinski
LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill.—The approximately $27 million addition to Stevenson High School’s East Building in Lincolnshire, Illinois—approximately 33 miles from Chicago— was completed in time for the start of the 2019-20 term in September.
Wight & Company was the architect, and Gilbane Building Co. served as the general contractor on this project that included adding 56,900 square feet to the previously 870,000-square-foot school that was built in 1965. Funded by loans, district savings and a state grant, most of the rooms in the addition are classrooms.
Far from traditional educational spaces, the table and chairs inside each room are on wheels to encourage small group work. Each room also contains multiple digital screens, in addition to individual temperature controls and lights that can be dimmed or brightened.
The additional classrooms throughout the school also have different uses. For example, the first and second floors contain classrooms that can be used for a variety of subjects. The third floor primarily houses specially designed science labs.
The roof features gardens and a greenhouse that will be used by science, art, foods and special education classes.
“We’re going to get a lot of use out of it,” said Stevenson spokesman Jim Conrey told the Daily Herald.
Shatterproof glass panes—which lets in more natural light—also run from floor to ceiling and separate the classrooms from the hallways. They also serve as security role in this era of mass shootings.
The primary purpose of the glass is to protect students from bullets or other objects,” said Conrey.
“Shatterproof glass includes layers of polycarbonate that, when struck by a projectile such as a bullet, would prevent it from exiting the other side. The glass basically absorbs the energy of the projectile upon impact, significantly slows its momentum and keeps the object within the glass layers.”
On the first floor, a courtyard with brick walkways, plants that are native to the areas, and curving concrete benches was built to draw students outdoors.
“It’s just meant to be a nice space where kids can catch a breath of fresh air if they want,” Conrey said.
Approximately 4,400 teens are expected at Stevenson this year, up from about 4,300 last year. Officials predict the student population will exceed 4,600 by the 2025-26 term.