Greenman Elementary School

Aurora, Illinois

The existing 107-year-old Greenman Elementary School no longer could support growing enrollments, technological advances and teaching curriculums. The 300-student school was an anchor in the neighborhood, and it was agreed upon early in the planning stages that the replacement school would be situated on the school’s park site, north of the existing building. A bus ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCO FIRMArchitecture for Education, Incorporated CAPACITY700COST PER SQ FT$136.00CITATIONWork in Progress CitationFEATURED IN2004 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYWork in Progress and playground will replace the current building now that the new facility has been completed for the start of the 2004-2005 school year.

The new 700-student Greenman Elementary features a performing-arts theme. Its layout includes clusters of classrooms that open to outdoor learning courtyards and hallways that double as computer labs.

This 63,000-square-foot K-5 school finds unique ways for performing arts to flourish. The formal stage for the multipurpose room is two-sided, offering an informal stage to the lobby. The grand extra-wide stairs leading to the second floor double as amphitheater seating. Through large sliding doors, the music classroom opens out to the lobby. Second-story lookouts can serve as balconies into the double-height spaces, such as the multipurpose room and the lobby. On the outside, a playful window arrangement of colored glass creates an expression of music, rhythm and harmony.

Each of the three eight-classroom clusters is two stories high, organizing four classrooms on each level around a technology/resource area. This concept explores the school-within-a-school concept, and allows for team-teaching, vertical clustering and grade-level-focused research areas. Each classroom is equipped with learning walls, bay windows and shared restrooms.

With this project, School District 129 has established outreach opportunities with the community. In partnership with Aurora University’s College of Education, this elementary school accommodates university facilities for hands-on, in-classroom training for future school teachers. In partnership with the local YMCA’s preschool program, this new school provides a preschool classroom adjacent to the kindergarten classroom.

"Unique design. Elegant small-school feel with simple use of design and daylight to create a welcoming space."--2004 jury