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Construction Zone: Middle-school makeover

A.V. Martinez Middle School, Romeoville, Ill., was built in the early 1970s and needed an extensive renovation to accommodate population growth, enhance learning, and update its infrastructure and security controls. These challenges were complicated further by the rigid, inflexible geometry of the school's room configurations and floor plan, which featured a main corridor that circled around the core and required “one-way” traffic to prevent congestion between classes.

The $11.7 million project eliminated this corridor, restructured the circulation path into a central hub and created functional grade-level cores within the existing building footprint. This enabled the new corridors to flow in a linear fashion into and out of the grade-level cores, and supported the school's team-teaching concepts. The central node used color, patterns and “super-graphics” to improve wayfinding in the building.

The 261,000-square-foot remodel also included the consolidation of administrative and student services into a common area and the addition of new, flexible classroom spaces to accommodate curriculum changes. Most of the construction work was completed in a phased approach over summer months in 2006 and 2007 to minimize classroom disruptions.

The architect/construction manager is Wight & Company (Darien, Ill.).

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