William Jones College Preparatory High School
Square footage: 278,000
LEED Gold certification
William Jones College Preparatory High School brings a new model of urban education design to downtown Chicago. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) realizes the importance of preparing the city’s youth for a competitive and changing world. To support that goal, it is a selective school and its academic programs highly rigorous. The location of the public high school on a tight city lot brought numerous challenges, namely space restrictions.
The design team’s solution was to organize the building into two small learning communities of 600 students, one each on floors four and five. These two floors provide optimum proximity to the shared curriculum spaces above and below. Small learning communities encourage strong peer-to-peer and peer-to-faculty relationships, with core academic subjects located within those communities to encourage interdisciplinary opportunities. Each floor is designed with wide stairwells and hallways, plus common areas outside classrooms, encouraging greater physical activity and more opportunity for interaction. Light and openness fill the school–from the soaring 3-story lobby and the outdoor terraces to the windows providing daylight and views to over 90% of the school.
Jones Prep is very much part of its neighborhood. The brick references the historic buildings on Printers Row to the west. The school also welcomes the public: the 475-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium, swimming pool, and gymnasium were designed to be available for public use.
The school also reflects a commitment to environmental stewardship. Jones Prep features a green roof and a porous green alley where stormwater is stored beneath the pavement. The school is designed to perform over 30% better than facilities of similar size. The design achieved LEED® Gold certification.