Northside College Preparatory High
Chicago, Illinois
OWP&P Architects
Citation Award


Site Plan

1st Floor Plan

2nd Floor Plan
3rd Floor Plan

Section Auditorium
Section Media Cntr.
Section Gym



9 - 12
1,00 Students
210,000 SF
210 SF/student

$176 per Sq. Ft.
14 Acres
Completion: 1999
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<>Architect: OWP&P Architects, Inc.
111 W. Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602
Principal-in-Charge: Andrew D. Mendelson, AIA
Mary Jo Graf, Director Education Marketing, 312-960-8339 

School Data:
Northside College Preparatory High School, Chicago Public Schools
5501 N. Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625
Paul G. Vallas, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools
Dr. James Lalley, Principal, 773-534-3966
Site Development & fixed equipment costs included in construction cost.

Associate firms and products are listed below Planning Principles.

Planning Principles: U.S. Department of Education Criteria

. How does the project enhance learning (and teaching), and support the needs of all learners? The goal was to create an urban school with a high quality learning environment to attract top-level students. With a rigorous academic program limited to honors and advanced placement classes, the school features a central media/teacher resource center; science and computer labs; flexible classroom and fine arts spaces; 550-seat auditorium; teaching/competition gym; and a 25-yard, 6-lane natatorium. A student quoted in the Chicago Sun Times said, “This feels like a private school.  The teachers are better, the facility is better.”

2. How does the design reinforce the school as a center of the community? Community use and site constraints shaped the plan.  While the main entrance is centered on the school’s long west façade and focuses on academics, the facility is anchored with performing arts and athletic facilities at opposite ends to properly zone student and community use.  Community groups, including local performing arts groups, regularly reserve auditorium space. Less than one year after occupancy, the school has become a symbol of success for the community, attracting some of the city’s top students.

3. Describe the planning/design process and who was involved.  CPS wanted the school to be designed and constructed in a two-year period.  Planning involved a solution that allowed the school to be constructed between existing utilities and buildings scheduled to be demolished. To create a comprehensive high school, planning also included the opportunity to construct the auditorium and natatorium later as funds became available. In addition to CPS and OWP&P, the planning and design team included a program manager, the managing architect for new construction and the construction manager. 

4. How does the project provide for health, safety and security, beyond standard approaches? Controlled access points and teacher/student integration are key to the overall security plan. Staff workrooms with windows looking onto corridors are located on every floor. Strategically located at corridor intersections, workrooms enable staff to monitor and supervise student activities. Independent entrances at both ends allow use of facilities by the community for theater groups, athletic events, and other after-hour activities, while maintaining security of the academic areas.

5. How does the project enhance the use of all available resources? The surrounding environment significantly influenced design. The north branch of the Chicago River forms the site’s eastern border; the design provides panoramic views of nature from multi-functional or public spaces. A river walk to benefit the school’s science program and the community will be developed in collaboration with the City. Classes will use this important resource for a variety of educational activities. A natural woodland and prairie grasses will also be developed for students to maintain and study.

6. What unique strategies allow for flexibility and adaptability to changing needs? Design focuses on flexibility, both functionally and technologically. In the academic spaces, the main hallway widens to form breakout spaces where up to three classes can gather for joint programs, allowing interdisciplinary collaboration. Classrooms and science labs feature a newly specified flexible furniture package that allows a variety of organizational and curricular scenarios. The school’s fiber optic backbone links computers in administrative and academic areas into a high-speed network including network connectivity at every seat in the media center.

Associate Firms:
Associate Architect: The Architects Enterprise, Ltd., Yves Jeanty, 312/424-0330
Construction Manager: Bovis Management Group,  Larry Walden, 312/245-1532  Contractor: Walsh Construction Group of Illinois, Paul O’Hara, 312/563-5400
Mechanical: OWP&P Engineers, Inc., Bill Kosik, 312/960-8301
Structural: Rubinos & Mesia Engineers, Dipak S. Shah, 312/663-5879
Landscape: Bauer Latoza Studio, Joanne Bauer, 312/986-1000
Kitchen: Design Associates, Ed Purmann, 847/923-8501
Lighting: OWP&P Engineers, Inc., Bill Kosik, 312/960-8301
Acoustical: Shiner + Associates, Inc., Fred Moritz, 312/849-3340
Theater: Schuler & Shook, Bob Shook, 312/944-8230
Photography: Hedrich Blessing Photographers, Scott McDonald, 312/321-1151
Program Manager: Capital Associates Consulting, Mike Tamillo, 312/335-2605, Plumbing and Fire Protection: Galloway Ltd., Phred Galloway, 312/786-9717
Civil Engineer: Rubinos & Mesia Engineers, Dipak S. Shah, S.E., P.E., 312/663-5879,
Pool Consultant: W.A.T.E.R., Inc, Michael J. Knight, 847/537-9283


Carpet & Flooring
Carpet: Interface
Flooring Armstrong, Burke, Polyflor
Phys. Ed. Flooring Action, Mondo
Construction Materials
Acoustical ceilings USG
Brick/Masonry Belden, Astra-Glaze, Northfield Block
Cabinets: Case Systems
Ceramic Tile: US Ceramic
Doors & frames: Algoma (wood doors), Curries/Essex (door frames)
Elevators: Automatic Elevator
Paint: Duron
Roofing:  Manville
Windows: EFCO
Indoor >Lithona, Poulsen, ASI
Emergency ALKCO

Locks: Arrow
Washroom Equipment

Fixtures Bradley, American Standard
Accessories ASI, Santana
HVAC / Controls
HVAC Units Trane
HVAC Controls Honeywell
General: Interior Investments, KI
Auditorium/Assembly Hussey
Cafeteria KI
Library/Media Center Meilhahn Manufacture, Agati, Brodart
Science Campbell-Rhea
Chalk/whiteboards Nelson Adams
Draperies/blinds Vimco, Mecho
Lockers  DeBourgh