Argo Community High School, Richard and Sharon Portillo Performing Arts Center

Summit, Illinois

  • FIRM

    DLA Architects, Ltd.


    Argo Community School District 217

  • AREA

    37,383 sq.ft.





Associated Firms: Threshold Acoustics LLC (Acoustics, A/V), Pease/Borst Assoc. (Structural), Berg & Assoc. (MEP and Fire Protection), W-T Civil Engineering (Civil)

Design team: Carrie Matlock, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C (President); Louis F. Noto, Jr., AIA, LEED® AP BD+C (Partner-in-Charge); Tracy Biederstadt, Licensed Architect, LEED® AP BD+C (Project Architect); ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY1,856COST PER SQ FT$432.00FEATURED IN2018 Architectural Portfolio R. Lowe, LEED® AP BD+C (Director of Design)

For years, Argo High School’s Performing Arts Department contorted itself to fit a modern curriculum into an antiquated space. Multiple options for renovation were considered, but the multistory building is almost a century old. Simply addressing life safety and accessibility issues consumed much of the budget. Creating a massive addition on the crowded and landlocked urban site seemed impossible.
The innovative solution avoided disrupting the main bus queuing area and access to the auto shop classroom. The design connected the addition with a bridge. Vehicle circulation around the site remained unchanged, and buses pass underneath. Students have a secure, indoor route to the rest of the building.
The addition made it possible to meet educational program goals and stay within budget. Large windows throughout provide plenty of natural light. Views from the common spaces into classrooms and practice rooms place learning on display. Students have an array of breakout spaces in which to collaborate.
The 450-seat auditorium is intimate. The acoustics provide a superior experience for both performers and spectators.