Master Facilities Plan and Capital Improvements at the Joseph Sears School

DLA Architects has been Architect of Record for Kenilworth School District since 2015. Beginning in late 2019, a Master Facilities Plan was developed through extensive collaboration between DLA Architects, Ltd., New Vista Design, and Kenilworth School District 38 stakeholders. Various opportunities allowed participation from the faculty, staff, administrators, student representatives, parents, and the Board of Education. The District engaged the Kenilworth Community at large through Visioning Sessions and Community Conversations with community residents, the Kenilworth Park District, and Village of Kenilworth representatives and police officials. The process included school tours, focus groups, workshops, surveys, and feedback sessions. These activities were accomplished in-person and virtually due to the ongoing pandemic circumstances.

This collaborative effort and the various groups’ valued opinions have contributed to a comprehensive Master Facilities Plan that looks at the existing campus and facilities’ condition and establishes a framework to determine maintenance and future improvement projects. The Master Facilities Plan will serve as a planning tool, aiding in fiscal forecasting, and identifying potential expenditures over the next ten years. The Plan will enable Kenilworth School District 38 to establish construction/maintenance budgets and foresee conflicts between construction and the curriculum delivery process.

As a result of this stakeholder input and in consultation with DLA Architects, the District is embarking on a multi-phased capital project to be concluded in three distinct phases. The first two phases will be completed over the next several years.

The specific proposed plan design is detailed for schoolhouse additions and renovations to meet the Educational Program and provide a safe school community environment. The flexibility of spaces allows the opportunity to adapt to changing educational needs in the future. Continuing to support the school’s award-winning sustainability efforts has been integrated into every aspect of the design. It includes relocating the outdoor classroom, creating an educational garden and a green roof.

The Plan preserves the traditional Abbotsford Road facade and Auditorium yet transforms the schoolhouse into a modern, open learning center that will support the District’s students as they progress through the various grade bands. The proposed Plan offers new Learning Hubs and Staff Collaboration Offices for each grade band. Phase 1 involved remodeling the Junior Kindergarten classroom and a Kindergarten classroom and creating a new Learning Hub for these early learners.

Phase 2 will include an addition to create a new Student Commons and will provide a distinctive gathering zone within the school and features a learning stair with access to a new centrally located Library Technology Center (LTC). A new Multipurpose Room and Warming Kitchen will provide an inviting space for lunch that offers outdoor eating options and is flexible and incorporates safety considerations for after-school community use. Additionally, the design allows for expanded collaboration with the Kenilworth Park District, strongly reinforcing the schoolhouse as a centerpiece in Kenilworth Community life.

NOTE: Renderings do not accurately reflect changes or considerations for the Kenilworth Park District property, visit for more details.

Take a look at what The Joseph Sears School could look like. Fifteen different positions provide 360-degree immersion into key locations of the school. Click on the links to access the views either on the computer or with your phone for an even more interactive experience. These are not final views, but give a draft view of the possibilities.

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