LOCATION : Aurora, Illinois
MARKET : Education
AREA : 78,000 SQ FT
Design supports transition

The Freshman Center addition provides an atmosphere conducive to maximum learning while softening the transition from middle school to high school. This 1,000-student Freshman Center helps ensure the successful transition of ninth grade students from middle school to the high school. It integrates freshmen on the high school campus while giving them their own place. Four academic "neighborhoods" provide learning environments customized for ninth-grade students. The Center supports team teaching, with general classrooms, science labs, art rooms, student rest rooms, individual learning areas, and learning resource rooms all easily accessible.

The Freshman Center's "team teaching" environment unites five major disciplines in a "school within a school". Classrooms are grouped around specialized study areas. This provides a secondary study area that can be used for tutoring and group study projects. It creates cohesive support groups in which five teachers guide 150 students in a friendly, supportive environment where no student can be anonymous or ignored. The Freshman Center's two wings on two stories feature common areas that allow "home towns" to gather for group presentations and informal meetings. A full court basketball gymnasium doubles as a lunchroom. Areas located off the "main street" student entrance allow early arriving students to gather before class in the morning. Support spaces including teacher offices and student lockers complete the facilities that make up the freshman's "home town". The main public entrance connects the Freshman Center to the high school building. Various shared-use spaces connect freshman to the main campus.