Lombard Elementary School District 44, facing a rapidly growing Early Childhood Program, held an architectural design competition to test the feasibility of housing the program in a 40 year old, underutilized, District owned building. Parts of the outdated building were being leased to other government and educational organizations. Interior spaces were very dark, with multiple subdivisions, poor circulation, and challenging building systems issues.
ARCON’s winning competition response, and the end product construction managed by ARCON, includes creative planning, colorful interior finishes, and selective exterior updates. The resulting solution has turned what was once a neighborhood eyesore into a state of the art, light-filled, playful environment, with a variety of appropriate support spaces tailored to the early learner. In support of multiple activity zones for 3 – 5 year-olds, each classroom is outfitted with abuse resistant hard and soft surfaces. LVT is used in classroom messy areas, carpet tile patterns visually connect classrooms with corridors and large group areas, and a sports floor transforms an existing high volume storage space into a new gymnasium. Playful flooring, ceiling, and lighting choices highlight team areas, wayfinding, and classroom entry viewing portals.The completely modernized John Schroeder Early Childhood Center has set the bar for future learning environment projects within School District 44.