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Case Study:  Cambridge Lakes (Modular Charter School)

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About Cambridge Lakes

DRH Cambridge Homes, Inc. annexed a planned development with 3,000 homes into Pingree Grove, Illinois, a sleepy farm village of 124 citizens in northern Kane County - 42 miles northwest of Chicago's Loop...a 50 minute train ride. The principal school district, serving 18,500 students, needed assistance from developers to meet the burgeoning needs of the district. In October 2004, Cambridge Homes engaged Presidential Services to research the issues and recommend solutions. That study led to the creation of the Cambridge Lakes Learning Center on a 15-acre site within the new development.

Their Need

The research parameters required finding a shorter school creation cycle (usually a 2-3 years), facilities costs that were less than adjacent school district's building costs and space flexibility that would serve a life-long learning commitment for the emerging new village. The team determined that a combination of site-built and manufactured components would meet all three criteria.
Presidential Services' "School Planning Team" used the Design Principles and engaged an international school design firm (Fielding Nair), a local school architecture firm (Newman Architecture) and a general contractor (L.J. Morse Construction) to refine and implement its facilities concepts. The action plan included opening a K-8 charter school (public) and a private preschool within three buildings in the fall 2007. With a reputation as the nation's foremost builder of custom pre-fabricated buildings, Whitley Manufacturing was selected to provide the modular portions of the building.  After completion of the first phase, Whitley Manufacturing provided both the second and third phase of development (addition to the 3rd / 4th grade building and new construction of a 7th / 8th grade classroom building).

Our Solution

Whitley translated the core-out design into quality-controlled classrooms, offices and connecting walkways. The site-built core included the high-ceiling, steel-structured KIVAs (the flexible gathering space - see schematic) with adjacent concrete foundations to accomodate Whitley's prefabricated components. Enter the KIVAs and classrooms, and vibrant color excites the eye, a mix of daylight and passive lighting support active learning, an exposed ceiling with high insular characteristics and a classroom design with five natural activity centers created unusual flexibility.
By fabricating the balance of the building off-site and with the accelerated timeline inherent to modular construction, school's are able to expand capacity over the summer recess, with minimal disruption to classes, all while preserving student safety by keeping children clear of ongoing construction areas.

This Project Won First Place for Permanent Education Facilities over 10,000 SFT at the 2012 Awards of Distinction presented by the Modular Building Institute.


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