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Master Facilities Plan

Approved December 14, 2020


Table of Contents


Executive Summary Section 1

Section 1 - Executive Summary

The goal of Kenilworth School District 38 is to become the best JK-8 school in the country, and facilities play a crucial role in achieving this goal and in providing a future-ready, student-centered learning experience for every child in the District. As Kenilworth School District 38, DLA Architects, and New Vista Design undertook a review of the best and most current academic building design elements in the United States, it became apparent that The Joseph Sears School and campus required significant capital investment to achieve this goal. This Master Facilities Plan (MFP) outlines facility needs and prioritizes expenditures to support 21st-century learning and protects the community's investment in the school's most critical physical assets. The MFP outlined within this document delivers on stakeholders' key priorities, which will benefit our students and community for many years to come.

These include:

  • Leveraging the unique architectural design of the schoolhouse, including retention of the Abbotsford facade and Auditorium.
  • Significant upgrades to the learning and collaboration spaces, and active support of the school’s academic, sustainability, arts, music, technology, and athletic programming.
  • Upgrading nearly all aspects of the school, including; an improved flow; a welcoming community entrance with atrium off of Ivy Court; the addition of a new lunchroom with warming kitchen within the building; additional recreational and event space; clearly defined learning neighborhoods for JK-2 Grade, Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-8; green roof space; expanded outdoor classroom space; a new music suite; additional science labs in a defined STEAM community area.
  • Creating a new Community Hub, providing space for additional Park District programming, expanded gym space, and a Park District office.
  • The efficient use of available resources.

This MFP 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 MFP that looks at the existing campus and facilities’ condition and establishes a framework to determine maintenance and future improvement projects. The MFP 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. The MFP is a tool for the District that will be evaluated and updated regularly to confirm its continued alignment with the District’s goals.

The MFP incorporates information gathered during multiple, in-depth building and site walk-throughs by representatives of DLA Architects, Ltd., 20/10 Engineering, and W-T Civil Engineering. Interviews were conducted with Kenilworth School District 38 Administration and Operations & Maintenance Staff. The study found that the facilities are well cared for, clean, and regularly maintained – a tribute to the District’s teachers, students, and maintenance staff. While the facilities are well-managed, there has not been a major capital improvements project in many years. The infrastructure and building components are aging and will need renovation and/or replacement. Section 2 - Existing Site and Building of the MFP includes the Facility Assessment and 10-year Life and Safety Survey Report, along with the existing site plan and building floor plans for reference. These plans identify specific building systems and assemblies, which, over time, will require replacement in addition to planning for academic change and growth.

The District considered several design features that would best complement the academic priorities across each grade band. Examples of these design features are included in Section 3 - Examples of Best Practice Educational Designs. Highlights from the tours of four local schools provided unique examples of cutting-edge educational design, effective integration of sustainability features, and excellent use of common areas to create a sense of openness and community. Schools toured include; J.F. Kennedy Elementary School, Gemini Middle School, Prairie Crossing Charter School, and Sunset Ridge Elementary School.

In February 2020, the District and DLA began working with New Vista Design on its Visioning process. New Vista Design conducted several school community workshops, focus groups, and surveys to prioritize specific innovative school design features and preferred aspects of forward-thinking education facilities. All of these design elements are based on current research and best practices in education facilities. Design priorities included:

  • Universal design
  • Flexible classrooms
  • Classroom neighborhoods
  • Gathering spaces
  • Collaborative spaces
  • Community use and access
  • Honoring history
  • Sustainability
  • Safety and security

Following the Visioning Process with school faculty, staff, administrators, and community stakeholders, six Guiding Principles were developed to serve as a framework for developing the Master Facilities Plan. They include:

  1. Personalization
  2. Accessibility
  3. Flexibility
  4. Community Orientation
  5. Outdoor Connectivity
  6. Sustainability 

Information on the Master Facilities Plan Guiding Principles can be found in Section 4 - Educational Visioning Workshops. A timeline summarizes the comprehensive Master Facilities Plan development process that included; school tours, stakeholder Visioning Sessions, the development of the Educational Program, and the proposed addition and remodeling floor plans that are the culmination of everyone’s input.

To prepare students to advance and thrive now and in the future, it is critical to have a clearly articulated Educational Program aligned with the District’s goals. Ensuring a personalized educational experience empowers and challenges each student to grow academically, develop personally, and be a part of a connected community. The resources of the School District must be directed to optimize the learning environment for each student to provide the very best educational experience possible. District 38’s Educational Program is presented in Section 5 - The Joseph Sears School Master Plan Educational Program

Based on stakeholder input and in consultation with DLA Architects, the District has determined that a multi-phased capital project can be concluded in three distinct phases. The first two phases will be completed over the next several years. The District would determine the third phase after looking at necessary improvements identified in the Facility Assessment and the 10-Year Life Safety Survey Report.

The total cost is projected to be up to a maximum of $25 million, which is forecasted to be fully financed by existing cash balances, continuing operating surpluses, donations, and with a possible issuance of Debt Certificates.

  • Phase I and Phase II: Currently projected to cost $19 million or less. These can be completed by utilizing current fund balances while still maintaining a comfortable reserve for operating contingencies.
  • Phase III: The goal is to use existing fund balances within the scope of maintaining the required reserves for operating contingencies. The anticipated cost and timing of this phase are to be determined. The District is using $6 million as an estimated placeholder of needed funds

A summary of the financial considerations and suggested phasing timeline is included in Section 6 - Financial Overview and Funding.

In Section 7- The Joseph Sears School Master Plan, 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 and expanding the outdoor classroom, creating a green roof, and green spaces within the building.

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. A new Student Commons 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.

The Kenilworth School Board has committed to pursuing Green Initiatives within The Joseph Sears School and throughout the campus. This commitment was initiated with a Sustainability Audit performed by WOLD Architects in 2019. The Joseph Sears School Sustainability Audit outlines the District Sustainability Goals and objectives. Three Pillars were identified as Priorities to the School Staff and Board;

  • Pillar 1: Building Efficiency
  • Pillar 2: Healthy Environments
  • Pillar 3: Environmental Literacy 

The Master Facilities Plan is a comprehensive plan for future needs and projected expenditures. Synthesized with life safety, curriculum, demographic issues, and future program needs, the MFP becomes a long-range planning document for managing and maintaining the District’s facilities in good working order, balanced with the required long-term expenditures. The quality of educational space can be a direct reflection of how well students can focus and learn within their classroom. Environments with poor thermal comfort, bad acoustics, or classrooms that are too cluttered inhibit the learning and teaching process. The MFP assessment goal centers around these facility needs, anticipating renovations, and replacing equipment before there are failures. 

Throughout this multi-phased capital project and continuous review of the MFP, the District 38 Building and Finance Committee, Administration, and DLA Architects will prioritize a renovation program that best meets the District’s goals and philosophical approach, and ensures fiscal responsibility and efficient use of invested resources. In this manner, all of the students, faculty, and staff of Kenilworth School District 38, along with the community, will benefit.

Section 2 - Existing Site and Building

  • Facility Assessment – DLA Architects, Ltd.
  • 10 Year Life Safety Survey – DLA Architects, Ltd.
  • Existing Site Plan
  • Existing Floor Plans – Lower Level, First and Second Floors


Section 3 - Examples of Best Practice Educational Designs

Schools Toured by Kenilworth SD38


Section 4 - Educational Visioning Workshops

Facilitated by New Vista Design in partnership with DLA Architects, Ltd.

  • Master Facilities Plan & Educational Visioning Workshops Timeline
  • Consolidated Notes
  • Faculty Questionnaire Responses
  • Teacher Master Plan Workshop
  • Community Master Plan Workshop


Section 5 - The Joseph Sears School Master Plan Educational Program

  • Educational Program Narrative
  • Educational Program Analysis Summary
  • Educational Program
  • Educational Program Space Utilization Floor Plans


Section 6 - Financial Overview and Funding

  • Project Finance and Phase Schedule
  • Project Summary
  • Fund Balances
  • Financial Projections


Section 7 - The Joseph Sears School Master Plan

Proposed Additions and Renovations to meet the Educational Program

Proposed Master Plan Design Option 8:

  • Site Plan Phase 1 & 2
  • Floor Plans Phase 1 & 2
  • Floor Plans Phase 3
  • Interior Renderings
  • Financial Projections
  • Project Schedule
  • Preliminary LEED v4 for BD+C: Schools Checklist


Section 8 - Appendices

  • School Transformation Map Survey Results - 21st Century Vision for Kenilworth School District 38
  • The Joseph Sears School Sustainability Strategy
  • Kenilworth School District 38 & Kenilworth Park District Visioning & Collaboration Meeting Minutes dated July 24, 2020
  • Code Implications to Possible Design Solutions
  • Design Options Reviewed:
    Options 1-3
    Options 4 & 5
    Option 6
    Options 6B-6D
    Option 7