The addition of a new Joint Educational Readiness Center facility to East Aurora High School is a unique joint venture between the East Aurora School District and the Illinois National Guard, and is the first of its kind in Illinois. What was once a dream has become a reality. The school’s Junior ROTC program was facing elimination because of inadequate facilities, and CAPACITY993COST PER SQ FT$115.60FEATURED IN2004 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized local Illinois Army National Guard Unit was looking for a larger space.
The design of this multifaceted structure will accommodate drilling space needed for the 440-cadet Junior ROTC program and recreational amenities for the 140-member Illinois Army Reserve National Guard, as well as additional practice space for varsity sports programs, physical-education classes and athletic programs.
Anchoring the connection between East Aurora High School and the National Guard Facility is a 25,014-square-foot fieldhouse, which includes a 1/10th-mile track with regulation long-jump and pole-vault area; batting/golf cages and four basketball, volleyball and badminton courts; tennis and soccer with retractable partitions; and a 763-square-foot storage area. Adjacent to the fieldhouse is an indoor 1,203-square-foot cardiovascular fitness center.
The 22,580-square-foot Illinois Army National Guard space will include a simulation room, classrooms, offices, a unit storage area, supply area and arms vault, locker rooms, break room, maintenance bay, and a kitchen for cooking and cleaning. The 5,008-square-foot Junior ROTC space includes a small-arms firing range, storage vault, ship’s mess, storage units, student lounge and administrative offices.
The new addition will have its own 15,488-square-foot entrance atrium with trophy displays, restrooms, concessions and ticket area. The interior consists of painted block with a mixture of accent rock-face block bandings. A centralized school-logo terrazzo tiled pattern adds to the resilient floor pattern of vinyl composition tile. Gypsum board soffits and acoustical tiles provide a matching ceiling pattern. A resilient decorative panel system covers some of the interior of the previous exterior brick facade.
Several site, functional, aesthetic and sustainable-design challenges accompanied general budget and time constraints in delivering this facility on time and under budget. Because of an unstable soil condition, the facility is built on concrete caissons and structural concrete-grade beams.
Architecture wraps itself in the ability to reuse materials in the design of an addition. For this project, the original gymnasium stone block was relocated above the new entryway, and stone from the facade of the existing gymnasium was used on the columns and corners of the new precast concrete addition.
On the interior, the fieldhouse has a structural, yet acoustical decking, spanning 10 feet between each steel bow truss and translucent window panel, which allow for natural light without glare and heat gain or loss.