Summer 2016 Building Addition & Enhancements

Last year, we all watched as the new science wing slowly grow and became part of our school. Many students had to deal with the closing of a stairway as well as noisy construction, but it has all paid off, for the brand new science addition is finished and an active part of the 2016-2017 school year.

The entire project was estimated to cost around $16.5 million, and as the school year goes by, we will all see that it was worth everything that was invested into this enormous project.

When Mr. Byrne, Department Chair for Science and Industrial Technology,  first heard of the plans for the science addition, he responded with, “I was incredibly excited that the addition was going to be a reality. There had been general talk about a classroom addition over the past 3-4 years, but there are so many moving pieces that go into an addition of this scale, I didn’t want to get my hopes up, in case it didn’t work out.  As each set of plans was presented, reviewed and adjusted, I was more and more excited about the opportunity this brings to all the students at West. While the classrooms are mostly focused on science, this addition makes the whole school better.”

As for the layout of the addition, at the bottom, there are two garages put in as a loading dock for delivery trucks and other supplies. The new part of the building consists of four

floors with four science classrooms per floor, except for the loading dock on the first floor and the atrium on the fourth. Moving the chemistry and physics classes out of the main building allowed room for other classes, alleviated crowding within classrooms and hallways, and dedicated space that was not available before.

Mr. Byrne further explained the details of these new classrooms:  “The four Chemistry rooms all have fume hoods, deionized water, and workstations that make them feel like college labs. Students will not have to transition from desks to lab stations for activities.  The four Physics rooms are even more open and flexible, so tables can be pushed together in many different configurations, depending on the activity. The power [electricity] is on tracks, dropped from the ceiling, so students will use technology while collecting and analyzing data no matter where they are in the room.”

The glass atrium on the top of the addition’s roof is designed to be a garden. Students will require supervision from a teacher to be able to access the roof. Additionally, an elevator has been installed to improve the overall accessibility of the addition.

One of the larger concerns was how successfully the new and old parts of the buildings were going to flow together.  The exterior of the science wing compliments the previous architecture of the main building, and the two are linked by a beautiful glass walkway that provides a fantastic view of the campus.

The new wing was created with a more modern design in mind with glass windows which expose students to more light. This has been scientifically proven to create more healthy and focused students which greatly benefits everyone within the school. There is direct access to the addition by a new stairway leading off of Crescent Avenue, and this stairway is also encased in glass panes to improve visibility for anyone using it.

The project was not limited to the new Science Wing, but also included an installation of air conditioning for the entire school and repaving of circle drive. Now, students are able to learn in a cool, comfortable environment, and they no longer have to cope with the extreme heat of the outdoors while they are in the building.

Two important things to note about the science addition are that in order to differentiate between classrooms in the wing and in the main building, the new classrooms in the science wing have “SC” in front of their numbers. Also, all of the science teachers are now in one department office so the entire department can now function within the science wing as opposed to the branches of the department being spread throughout the school.

Senior Andrea Gieseman said, “I really like how spacious the rooms are and how nice the lab tables are. My only complaint is that the rooftop garden is not easily accessible for all students [without a teacher].”

With this addition, Glenbard West is once again rewriting the history of not only our school, but our town as well. Students are able to begin each and every year with immense pride in their school, and the new addition is no exception.