Just over a year ago, we were waiting patiently for the decision on funding for a new annex to be built at Walter Payton College Prep High School (1034 North Wells Street). As anyone who’s ridden the Brown Line between the Chicago Avenue and Sedgwick stops can attest, the funding was approved, and construction has begun. What’s visible now is mostly just a skeleton, but it’s a steel skeleton. And those are the best kind.
The school, named after Chicago’s beloved #34 (sorry, Kerry. Nothing personal, but this is Sweetness we’re talking about) has been on the U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 High Schools list every year since 2007, being named the Number 2 school in the state of Illinois back in June. When completed, the $17-million annex, by KOO Architecture of Chicago, will create more classrooms and amenities for the school, as outlined in this statement from the KOO website:
KOO is currently working on a 50,000-square-foot addition to Walter Payton that will allow the school to accommodate 50% more students. The design adds a competition gymnasium, a lunchroom, a black box theater, a dance studio, additional classrooms, and a special education facility.
The annex is designed to take its cues from the original structure without striving to replicate it. It utilizes a complementary building palette and a rotated gymnasium mass with angles referencing the existing structure. The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2015.