New Silas Willard Elementary School

Galesburg, Illinois

  • FIRM

    Cordogan Clark & Associates


    Galesburg Community Unit School District #205

  • AREA

    72,000 sq.ft.





From chalkboards to touch-screen monitors, Silas Willard Elementary School underwent monumental changes in building a new facility. Silas Willard has been a source of great pride for the community; in 1917 future president Ronald Reagan attended first grade here. Nevertheless, the century-old facility had remained largely unchanged while technology rapidly advanced. The ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$236.00FEATURED IN2017 Educational Interiors ShowcaseINTERIOR CATEGORYClassrooms considered renovations and additions, and concluded that a new facility would be the best way to provide students with an educational environment that met 21st-century demands.
Merging schools, district changes, and waves of new enrollment meant the old Silas Willard couldn’t accommodate the need for classroom space. Instead, many students were bused to other schools. If maximum capacity were the only issue Silas Willard faced, a renovation and addition would have sufficed. Unfortunately, much of the building and its systems had reached the end of their useful service life. With all the work needed to bring Silas Willard up to par, it was not financially feasible to renovate, nor would renovating have met Galesburg’s goals for the project.
The community desired a school that incorporated 21st-century technologies, and a program that includes an art room, a music room, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, an auditorium, and classrooms that accommodate up to 600 students.
The design also had to fit within existing site constraints and allow for construction to be carried out while the old facility was still in use.