Champaign Unit 4 School District

Booker T. Washington STEM Academy

Champaign, IL

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CannonDesign provided conceptual design services for the expansion of Booker T. Washington Elementary School, a 225-student K-5 school in an underserved neighborhood, to create a 60,300 sf STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) academy serving 425 students. The school’s project-based learning environment consists of three inwardly focused academies, each configured as a cluster of three learning studios that open onto a communal gathering and project workspace. At the building’s core is a STEM lab, where students connect with professionals from the University of Illinois’s I-STEM program. Bookending the building’s core are a reference library and a student commons area where student artwork, models, and graphics are prominently displayed. To make the district eligible for various grants, electricity expenditures needed to be 30% below ASHRAE 90.1-2007 guidelines. The building achieves this via high-performance lighting and envelope solutions and a dedicated outside-air system with integral energy recovery and geothermal heating and cooling. The project is registered for Gold certification under LEED for Schools.

“This project supports 21st century learning and has outstanding flexible learning spaces. The inclusion of community history and inspirational messages are an effective component of this design.” American School & University
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The new STEM Academy provides spaces for hands-on learning experiences that focus on problem-solving and learner-centered education throughout. Minimal corridor space allows learning activities to occur throughout the building and creates a more comfortable and productive learning environment for students and teachers alike. Bookending the building’s core are a reference library and a student commons area where student artwork, models and graphics illustrate how science, technology, engineering and mathematics impact all facets of life.

In association with local architect Bailey Edward.

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Challenge: Develop an elementary school that reduces electrical costs 30% below baseline.

In developing the first K-5 STEM magnet school in Illinois, the Champaign Unit 4 School District sought to reduce electricity costs 30% below ASHRAE 90.1-2007 guidelines. The multidisciplinary design team developed a total-building, integrated solution that included lighting power density reductions, ample daylighting, envelope improvements, and a dedicated outside-air system with integral energy recovery and geothermal heating and cooling. Challenges included locating the geothermal well field, coordinating nonstandard ductwork required by a dedicated outside-air ventilation system, and achieving the minimum classroom acoustic requirements specified in LEED for Schools.

The school’s HVAC equipment is decentralized, with heat pumps housed in multiple mechanical rooms, isolating equipment from classrooms. With permission, the geothermal well field is sited beneath an adjacent park district parking lot. To comply with acoustical requirements, the ductwork system, with sound attenuators, operates at a lower air velocity and balancing dampers are isolated from diffusers.

Distinctions

  • Award of Distinction

    Illinois Association of School Boards

  • James D. MacConnell Award

    Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)

  • William W. Caudill Citation for Design Excellence

    American School & University

Credits

  • Steinkamp Photography

Publications

  • American School & University

    William W. Caudill Citation: Booker T. Washington STEM Academy

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  • School Construction News

    Green Building Benefits: A.E. Stevenson High School & Booker T. Washington STEM Academy

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  • Chicago Architect

    What’s on the Mind of Trung Le – Head of Cannon Design’s “Third Teacher” Effort

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