Chiaravalle Montessori’s new addition to be LEED Platinum

Chiaravalle Montessori takes another step towards a more sustainable school by replacing an aging annex with a LEED Platinum facility coined the North Wing.  The North Wing was designed by Cannon Design to provide a space for integrated studies. The facility will include a: music and movement studio, Da Vinci Arts and Science studio, Global Learning Lab, theater, library, gym and a community gathering space called the Hub. Each space was designed to blur the lines between nature and the outdoors. The building design uses large windows to bring ample natural light into learning spaces. In addition, color schemes were chosen to reflect a love of nature and the environment – a subtle reminder that even younger children will see.

When designing the North Wing, Chiaravalle decided to pursue LEED Platinum certification. The decision to pursue a LEED Platinum certification has informed many material choices in the building, as well as the decision to include the solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems in the building. The school has set a goal of using 50% sustainability harvested timber in the construction of the building and diverting 75% of the construction debris from the landfill.

The school has also jumped at the chance to involve students in the process. Students have had the opportunity to talk with the architects and contractors about many aspects of the building including: solar and geothermal energy sources, vegetation used on the green roof, air quality, the impact of the environment on health and the carbon footprint.

Construction is on schedule for a fall of 2015 building opening. For more information on the project visit the North Wing Project website. If the North Wing achieves LEED Platinum status it will be just one of a few schools in Illinois to achieve the platinum status according to U.S. Green Building Council as of December 2014.

“Chiaravalle has a unique opportunity to build a Montessori building for a Montessori program, to leave a legacy for generations to come, while living values of curiosity, creativity, and responsibility for a sustainable future” – from the North Wing Project website.

This article was written in cooperation with Chiaravalle Montessori School.

Chiaravalle is a non-denominational, Montessori, independent, co-educational, accredited school for children ages 2-14. The school is housed in an architecturally significant Daniel Burnham brick schoolhouse blocks west of Lake Michigan in the Lakeshore Historic District of Evanston. Additional space in the First Congregational Church of Evanston is a dedicated suite for the Middle School, grades 7-8.

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