On May 18, 2017, Leyden High School District 212 held a groundbreaking ceremony commemorating the start of construction on significant enhancements to the District’s West High School. The existing building is nearly 60 years old and the District therefore needed their longstanding architect, SPM Architects, and ICI to work with them to design and build a 21st century learning environment for their students.
The District’s ultimate goal in the enhancements to both West and East Leyden is to develop “confident problem-solvers through authentic and relevant experience”. These updated spaces will be built with the intention of enhancing instructional experiences now and in the years to come.
West Leyden High School is comprised of seven interlocking rectangular-shaped educational wings that create a circular courtyard as the building’s center. However, the existing cafeteria, media space and kitchen are undersized and antiquated for today’s educational priorities. ICI is complementing the existing footprint by relocating the eating area of the cafeteria and media center to a portion of the inner courtyard.
The newly created space will replace and enhance the original cafeteria eating area into a more social space where students can enjoy a welcoming, daylight-filled environment. This enhanced cafeteria will include an exterior student commons in the courtyard that can double as outdoor instruction. Additionally, the second floor of the expansion will house a spacious, student-centered media center overlooking the courtyard and strategically adjacent to student support areas. The expanded media center will include dedicated instruction areas and collaboration rooms for the students. The spaces will transform the learning environment and overall student experience.