Project of the Year Feature – New Construction – Suburbs (Above $20M)

Project of the Year Feature – New Construction – Suburbs (Above $20M)

January 9, 2024

BURR RIDGE – CISCO’s 2nd Project of the Year Feature is the top choice of New Construction – Suburbs (Above $20M), which is Lincoln Elementary School. General contractor was International Contractors, INC; client was Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205.

When considering submissions, judging criteria is based on: quality of construction, design, impact on the community and safety record.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

In 2017, the Elmhurst community passed a $168 million referendum to improve their facilities district-wide. Following an extensive preconstruction effort where each facility was evaluated, Wight and Co. and International Contractors, Inc. (ICI) presented Community Unit School District 205 with various renovation, expansion and new construction options for all schools within the District. Lincoln Elementary School was among those considered and the District opted to replace the 100+ year old building in time for the 2022 school year.

This decision set the community and project team on an exciting multi-year journey rooted in collaboration, communication and ultimately, celebration of their newly completed future-ready school. The 79,380 square foot, two-level learning environment incorporates the latest in education design: a large gathering/presentation stair, individual break-out rooms, outdoor instruction and play environments and secured main entrances with a dedicated administration wing. Additionally, the building achieved LEED Silver Certification.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

The new K-5 school accommodates up to 600 students and aligns with modern learning strategies consistent with CUSD 205’s mission. Three key challenges emerged through the planning and design process:
• Maximizing indoor/outdoor instructional space on a severely restricted site
• Enhancing safety with adequate on-site parking and improved traffic flow
• Honoring the history of the original school while celebrating its place in the neighborhood

The new school’s exterior architectural design reflects the housing re-development currently taking place within the transforming community. The appearance of the new Lincoln School focuses on shared memories with aesthetics reflective of its context and time.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

On the inside, the school is partitioned into grade-level neighborhoods. Each neighborhood was given its own identifying personality through color and student-inspired graphics. The open plan library media center and adjoining dining commons connect these classrooms to other services and student-centered programs. Corridors were largely eliminated to maintain clear site-lines across each level. The layout offers flexibility to ensure that nearly every square foot in the facility is used for educational purposes.

To rebuild the school, students were displaced for an entire school year to different schools within the District. The school board and administration had made promises to parents that students would only be displaced for one school year. This subsequently required the construction team to build within a compressed schedule amidst unanticipated construction supply chain conditions resulting from the pandemic. Lengthening the schedule for any reason was not an option.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

Timely construction delivery can present unforeseen hurdles in any market climate, much less during the tail end of a pandemic. Trade contractors were experiencing unavoidable and significant delays on many items. This required the project team to have a fluid and flexible approach. For example, the roof insulation and membrane could not be obtained. As a result, ICI shifted to a temporary roof to allow interior construction to progress.

Additionally, ICI knew the original parcel contained homes that had been demolished decades ago as additions to the school were completed. ICI knew from experience that foundations of homes are not always entirely removed. The team determined during preliminary investigation that the site contained oil tanks. Ultimately, the existing homes’ concrete foundations were removed, and the contaminated soils and tanks were remediated. All these conditions were accounted for prior to construction start and were handled through contingencies. At project conclusion, ICI returned nearly $1 million to the District in unspent allowances and contingencies.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

The new Lincoln Elementary School positively impacts three communities: the student community, the teacher, staff, and administrative community; and area residents. The student community benefits are numerous and range from a safe entry point to a curriculum-flexible media center to the interactive dining commons, which occupies the heart of the school.

These areas serve as the connective backbone between new program spaces such as enrichment studios for the sciences and arts. Daylight fills major portions of the building; vastly improving the student experience.

Teachers, staff, and administration now work from natural light-filled classrooms and a dedicated administration wing. The new Lincoln School and other District-wide building improvements are drawing new residents to Elmhurst and elevating educational delivery for the community.

Lincoln School has a compelling mission statement for their students. “AT LINCOLN SCHOOL … WE IGNITE AND NURTURE AN ENDURING SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE, CURIOSITY, CREATIVITY, AND CONFIDENCE.” They have now provided a learning environment that fosters fulfillment of this goal.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

“Our new Lincoln Elementary School has so many amazing features that assist in ensuring that our students receive the highest quality learning experience while also honoring the 106-year-history of the Lincoln community. This new modernized building provides future-ready learning spaces that inspire community, increase safety and security and support an environment that will continue to drive student success,” said Elmhurst CUSD 205 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Keisha Campbel.

The project also had a positive impact on the local construction community: Among the trades, 64,265 man-hours went into the Lincoln Elementary School project.

Lincoln Elementary School was built with zero safety incidents. From project onset, members of the construction management team met with school administrators to communicate a detailed logistics plan to all stakeholders. Safety was discussed at weekly subcontractor meetings by both the superintendent and the project manager.

CISCO Pride in Construction Feature

ICI uses a badging system for all workers on the job site. Every worker is issued a bar-coded photo ID badge on day one and it is attached to their hard hat while on site. The workers “scan in” at the job site trailer upon arrival each day and scan out at the day’s end. This provides ICI knowledge of every worker on site at all times and a comprehensive record can be produced at the conclusion of the project.

Additionally, ICI employs a third-party consultant, Sheffield Safety, to visit the job sites unannounced multiple times throughout the duration of a construction project to ensure all safety regulations are adhered to. Detailed reports indicate safety practices were implemented by on the on-site project superintendent.

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