The Community Consolidated School District 59 Early Learning Center was designed to provoke curiosity, encourage interaction, and optimize indoor/outdoor connections. The 57,000-square-foot expansion (to a junior high school) consolidates all district early learning programs.
Designers developed the facility around outdoor learning areas, including a courtyard rich in age-appropriate learning opportunities, as well as three themed learning gardens (i.e., fine arts, nature, sensory) positioned between classroom volumes.
The staggered arrangement of eight classroom bars responds to a key goal—to maximize learning opportunities beyond the classrooms. Each pair of classrooms connects via a sliding glass door and an “integrated therapy room” in which specialists help students. Light-filled corridors house a culinary arts zone with a child-sized counter and “therapy stairs” for training. Corridors also feature breakout spaces with curving ceiling and wall patterns, wall materials that welcome touch, and views of the learning gardens.
A parent support center off the entry helps parents get to know staff while their children acclimate to their new environment, while a large motor skills area adjacent to the courtyard serves children of all needs.
The CCSD59 Early Learning Center is designed around its outdoor spaces, including three themed learning gardens and a large courtyard. Daylight-filled classrooms and corridors maximize views to the outdoors.
- Proper building orientation (program spaces facing north and south)
- Physical access and views to outdoor program areas/nature
- Daylight harvesting systems (integrated CO2 and/or occupancy sensors)
- Energy-efficient LED lighting
- Roofs sloped for future solar panels installation
- Energy-efficient glazing (higher coefficients)
- Underground stormwater management system
- Use of non-toxic on-site generated cleaning systems
- Predicted EUI in kBtu/sf/yr excluding on-site renewable energy contribution: 75 kBtu/sf/yr
- Predicted EUI in kBtu/sf/yr including on-site renewable energy contribution: no renewable energy systems included
- Predicted % regional energy reduction per Energy Star Target Finder: Energy Star Target Finder not used – building meets IECC 2009 energy efficiency requirements
- Actual Predicted EUI in kBtu/sf/yr including on-site renewable energy contribution: no one-year utility record available
An energy modeling study examined short- and long-term cost and savings implications of several HVAC systems. The VRF system turned out to be the wisest choice: it is estimated to save the district nearly $30,000 a year, meaning the district will spend less than half of the operational expenses that it would spend with a conventional HVAC system. Additional energy reduction strategies include daylight harvesting systems (CO2 and/or occupancy sensors) and LED lighting.
Parking spaces per occupant: 0.66
Walk Score: 59