A group of educators, parents and District 117 representatives worked for nearly seven years to study innovations used around the country that the district could adapt over time to advance education. The result was a vision that teacher-led, smaller learning communities would create a personalized experience where all students would succeed.
Planned for small schools CAPACITY1,500COST PER SQ FT$118.00FEATURED IN2004 Architectural Portfolio students within a 1,500-student school, Lakes Community High School was designed with two three-story classroom wings. Floors one and three are identical in both wings: each has eight classrooms, multipurpose rooms and a large teacher-planning area. The intention was to create the opportunity for four learning communities throughout the building. The second floor in each wing is intended for science and can be shared among any learning community. The “commons,” an open-space atrium, provides opportunities for students to congregate and interact. This space was planned with the knowledge that learning happens just as often when students and teachers interact informally.
The plan enables clustering, collaboration and undesignated space for varied learning environments. Flexible construction allows the space to change easily. Thus, there are neither interior masonry walls nor lockers within the classroom wings, and drywall is easily demountable during summer.