The video shows the Phase One building (350 East South Water Street) inside and out, including classrooms, gym, cafeteria, rooftop playground, and … wait for it … robotics lab. When completed, the bKL-designed building will be nine-stories tall, 153 feet high, and have 82,000 square feet of space for children in kindergarten through fourth grades.
The second phase of the project will have 16 stories nearby at 355 East Wacker Drive for students from fifth through 12th grade.
GEMS recently opened an office in the Village Market building on the other side of Lakeshore East Park, directly in front of the second-floor entrance to the Mariano’s Fresh Market. If you’re into architectural models, that’s where the GEMS model has moved, and it’s visible to the public in the display window.
Another interesting note — To our knowledge, this is the first school with access to the Chicago pedway system*. Though an opportunity was missed connecting it directly to the pedway, it appears that one of of the main doors to the building is just steps from Aqua’s spiral staircase linking its retail level with the Pedway and the park below. Call it “pedway adjacent.” It’s a nice amenity to add to the list of pedway-friendly businesses.
After the recent closure of the Hallmark store at the Aon Center (200 East Randolph Street), and Intelligentsia Coffee deciding to turn its pedway-level coffee shop at The Heritage at Millennium Park (130 North Garland Court) into an eyesore of a storage area (no worries, we count at least 14 other pedway-friendly coffee shops), there has been a recent burst of new life, including an upscale dress shop, a convenience store, a shoe repair shop, a Burger King, and two Dunkin’ Donuts outlets.
*Happy to be corrected on this one. If you know of another school (not a day care center) with pedway access, let us know!