Phase two of the GEMS World Academy (355 East Wacker Drive) at Lakeshore East is officially underway. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Wednesday, as you can see in these photos supplied by friends-of-the-blog bKL Architecture, which designed both this building and the phase one GEMS building, which opened this past fall at 350 East South Water Street.
The first GEMS building is an 82,000 square-foot technology and educational showpiece for children from kindergarten to fourth grade. The building now under construction, referred to as the “upper school” is a 16-story, 254-foot-tall school for students in fifth through 12th grades. Here are the deets straight from the GEMS’ mouth:
Celebrating the Future of GEMS World AcademyAn upbeat groundbreaking ceremony at GEMS World Academy-Chicago this week brought students, staff and supporters of GWA together to celebrate the future construction of an Upper School.
The Upper School has been part of GWA’s educational mission from the start. The 240,000-square-foot building will be constructed adjacent to the Lower School, which opened in the fall of 2014. It will combine state-of-the-art design and the international curriculum that GEMS schools are known for.
The groundbreaking, which was held Wednesday, included remarks from a number of GEMS leaders: Denise Gallucci, CEO of GEMS Education Americas; Geoff Jones, the Head of School at GEMS World Academy-Chicago; Andrew Slater, the Head of Lower School at GWA; Thomas Kerwin, principal at bKL Architecture; and Stephanie Pace Marshall, founding president of the Illinois Math and Science Academy and a member of the GWA Advisory Board.
After the talks, GEMS leaders walked outside for the ceremonial turning of dirt. A group of fifth- and sixth-graders from GWA, who will be the first students to use the Upper School when it opens, grabbed shovels and assisted with the ceremony while cheering parents looked on.