Walter Payton College Prep

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Project Description

The 20 million dollar addition to one of the top performing high schools in the nation increases Payton’s capacity by about 40%. A 49,000 square foot, three-story structure adds 14 classrooms, a multi-purpose ‘black box’ performance & teaching space, student lounge/café (overflow for the cafeteria), additional administration space, a gymnasium and a fitness room. Specialty classrooms include a dance studio, music rehearsal rooms, art classroom, driver’s-ed classroom and a special education suite. There was also some renovation work in the existing school including improvements to the auditorium, modifications to administration space and renovation of two classrooms (one converted to a science lab). A tight site led to some unique design constraints. The gymnasium sits on the third floor with extensive sound mitigation to the floor below and storm water management is handled by storage vaults located under the building. Massing and a change in brick color express the gym volume and the subtle angle of the ‘box’ which matches the angle of the existing school’s atrium. Site work includes a narrow plaza on the south side of the building that doubles as a fire lane and is flanked by a bio-swale. The project utilizes a steel frame with a cavity wall skin composed of brick veneer over light gage metal framing. The design incorporates a number of sustainable features and achieved LEED Silver.

The project won the Chicago Building Congress (CBC) merit award in 2017, for projects under 55 million dollars.


Project Manager from the end of the Design Development phase to the completion of project close-out. Led the in-house and consultant project delivery effort and was the main contact with the Public Building Commission. This project included enhanced Construction Administration where I was on site for a few hours each day (almost daily) for the duration of the construction.