William Jones College Preparatory High School
This project provided an opportunity to rethink how schools are designed in dense neighborhoods. Typically, school campuses sprawl over several acres but this was not possible on the constrained site.
This was an exciting challenge. The team built consensus among stakeholders including city government, community members, and administrators to create a vision for the school that prioritized wellness. Large windows welcome light and outdoor terraces provide spaces for respite several stories above street level. Stairways are wide and centrally located, encouraging movement and chance encounters on the way to class.
Another element was the inclusion of the gym and swimming pool. Unlike at most high schools, these are located on level seven so more money could be spent on learning spaces instead of structure. Today, Jones students learn in a dynamic, efficiently planned building in the heart of downtown Chicago.
The solution: Everything was planned within the existing footprint. No additional land was needed. Outdoor terraces, core academic spaces, and even a pool stack vertically on seven stories. Students enjoy more collaboration space than before and less time walking from class to class because space is flexible and efficiently planned. These concepts have influenced urban schools in several other cities, too.
The Architects Enterprise, Ltd.