Joliet Central High School Plans for Student Center Addition
October 3, 2013 08:27 AM
Joliet Township High School District 204 is looking to the future as plans for an addition to the Central Campus are underway.
At the September Board of Education meeting, plans were presented for a capital building project that includes the construction of a Student Center and galleria at Joliet Central High School. The project is budgeted at 28 million dollars, which will be funded through bond issuance.
“The West Campus is currently meeting the needs of our students, and facility expansion recently took place with the addition of the Science Center,” said Dr. Cheryl McCarthy, JTHS Superintendent. “However, there still remains a need for expansion at the Central Campus, and this project is designed to add functional and flexible space for student and community use.”
Phase 1—Infant Childcare Center Relocation
The project will take place in three phases, with completion slated for the second semester of the 2015-2016 school year. Phase 1 includes the relocation of the Infant Childcare Center that is currently housed in the lower level of the Little Theatre. The Infant Childcare Center will move across Collins Street to vacant space available due to the relocation of district’s transportation center.
“Moving the Childcare Center out of the Little Theatre opens an array of opportunities for the children in the program,” said Deanna Woodard, JTHS Curriculum Director. “The new space is larger and is equipped with a large multi-purpose room, classroom and office space. An outdoor play area will be constructed with a variety of equipment that appeals to different age groups.”
Renovation for the Infant Childcare Center is currently about 70 percent complete with an anticipated move-in date of December 2013.
Phase 2—Little Theatre Demolition
With the relocation of Infant Childcare Center, Phase 2 of the construction project will begin as the Little Theatre is demolished to provide space for the construction of a Student Center. Phase 2 is scheduled to start in February of 2014, and completion is slated for August.
“Demolition of the Little Theatre was a fiscally responsible decision for the district as it considered the options available to make space for the addition of the Student Center,” said Ilandus Hampton, JTHS Assistant Superintendent for Business Services. “Renovation was not an option due to the cost associated with upgrading the facility to meet the educational needs of the 21st Century.”
The architect for the project, Tom Roth of Wight and Co., also pointed out that the Little Theatre is not on the Historic Registry.
Phase 3—Student Center
The third phase of the construction project is scheduled to begin during the 2014-2015 school year with the construction of the Student Center. Proposed plans include a kitchen, cafeteria, student bookstore, technology help desk counter, security entrance and two presentation rooms.
The kitchen and cafeteria will provide seating for 600 students and is designed with a flexible configuration that can be arranged to accommodate community and school events. The community venue has the potential to hold up to 400 people, and the space can be arranged in an “auditorium style,” where seating can be set up around a portable stage.
While pointing out the functionality of the community space, Joliet Central High School Principal John Randich stressed the necessity of a new cafeteria for students who are currently eating at non-traditional lunch times. “This space will greatly benefit our students,” said Randich. “Due to an enrollment of nearly 3,100 students, and with a 4th floor cafeteria that only seats 350 students, lunch periods currently begin as early as 10:20 a.m. and end as late as 2:15 p.m.”
The proposed plans for the Student Center include several student collaboration spaces that will provide more service to students in a 21st Century learning environment. Construction in this phase also involves masonry restoration, utilities relocation and parking lot improvements.
Phase 3—Galleria Connection
To connect the Student Center to the main campus, a galleria will be attached to the east side of the school, closing Herkimer Street to southbound traffic. The galleria is designed to function similar to the atrium that currently joins the Field House to the gym on the north side of the school. Along with natural lighting elements, the galleria incorporates student lounge and collaboration space equipped with technology charging stations.
“The face of education is changing as technology integration progresses,” said Karla Guseman, JTHS Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services. “The spaces in the addition have been designed to accommodate our one-to-one initiative, which will provide all students with a computing device by the 2014-2015 school year.”
While the entire project is built to meet the needs of a 21st Century education, the historical integrity of the 112 year old building will be preserved. Members of the Joliet Central High School Archive Committee have provided feedback to the construction planning team to ensure that the plan mirrors the school’s historical nature.
Throughout the project, architectural elements of the existing building will be maintained, along with the school’s historical designation. Architectural elements include the incorporation of parapets and a limestone façade that will retain the collegiate gothic appearance of the main building. A portion of the existing limestone façade will undergo restoration because it will serve as an interior wall of the galleria.
“Joliet Central High School is a school steeped in tradition that prides itself in being a beacon of light and opportunity for the students, families and community we serve,” said Randich. “This is an exciting time for Joliet Central High School.”
View Proposed Building Plans: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jths204/sets/72157636053593645/