Perkins & Will
330 North Wabash Ave, Suite 3600, Chicago, IL
234 East Colorado Blvd., Suite 600, Pasadena, CA 91101
Principal-in-Charge, Chicago: Steven Turckes
Design Director, John Dale
Contact: Peter Brown, Project Director 312-755-4633, Peter.Brown@perkinswill.com
Harold G. Fearn Elementary School, K-5
1600 Hawksley Lane, North Aurora, IL
Contact: Dr. Sherry Eagle, Superintendent, 630-844-4430
firms and products are listed below Planning Principles
U.S. Department of Education Criteria
1. How does the project enhance learning (and teaching), and support the
needs of all learners?
Flexible classroom clusters specifically designed for Fearn
support a variety of curricula and teaching methods such as looping,
multi-grade classrooms, and traditional self-contained classrooms.
A mobile media center enhances teachers’ ability to meet
students’ needs by delivering resources attuned to a specific
curriculum, age-level, or project to the classroom.
In addition, a unique partnership with Aurora University provides
an on-site professional development center that serves as a readily
accessible teaching laboratory, which promotes continual interaction
between educational researchers, university students, and school staff.
How does the design reinforce the school as a center of the community?
Fearn is part of a community campus that includes Gary Jewel
Middle School and the Fox Valley Park District land.
Within this comprehensive learning and recreational environment,
Fearn provides access to a multi-purpose hall for dining, athletics and
strengthens the sense of community by the school’s internal “village
street” which connects the resource centers, library office, art room
and administrative offices. Fearn’s
partnership with Aurora University also adds to the educational
community by bringing together learners of all ages.
3. Describe the planning/design process and
who was involved.
Fearn’s design evolved through intense interaction between
Perkins & Will and the district’s Design Committee which included
the Superintendent, school board members, district administrators,
Aurora University, faculty from various curriculum areas, the City of
North Aurora, and the Fox Valley Park District. During a series of
workshops, committee members took tours of significant public school
projects, evaluated various building concepts, and created and discussed
their own design ideas. Major
design innovations that became part of Fearn’s detailed program were a
result of this collaboration.
4. How does the project provide for health,
safety and security, beyond standard approaches?
Fearn utilizes passive (building design) security rather than
active (surveillance technology). By
providing each major learning space with direct access to the outside,
the building can be easily exited in an emergency.
Generous interior glazing allows teachers and Aurora
University’s 20 full-time adult learners to ‘naturally’ control
and supervise the school’s shared spaces from various teaching and
administrative stations. The bay windows and clerestories throughout the
building also provide the generous natural light needed to promote a
healthy educational atmosphere.
5. How does the project enhance the use of
all available resources?
Through community partnership and flexible design, students
continually benefit from Fearn’s multiple and innovative resources.
With students and faculty from Aurora University using Fearn as
an educational laboratory, teaching methods, curriculum, and classroom
settings are tailored to meet students’ needs. In addition, the
flexibility of Fearn’s mobile media center and wireless computer
network not only expands teachers’ educational resources, they also
enabled the design team to increase the space of each classroom cluster
to include dedicated resource and project areas.
6. What unique strategies allow for flexibility and adaptability to
The planning of the classroom clusters enables Fearn’s
facility to support a variety of teaching methods. Study resource areas support the need for more intimate
educational sessions while, in combination with project areas, they
provide a multi-faceted learning environment.
In addition, flexible walls help redefine both classrooms and
gathering spaces. For
example, by closing one wall the stage converts into a music classroom,
and then, by opening the opposite wall, the classroom becomes a setting
for more intimate performances.
Contractor: Wayne Seyller, A. J. Maggio Co.,
Mt. Prospect, IL
Leverenz, Mechanical Services Associates Corp.,
Structural: Robert Magruder, Thornton – Tomasetti / Engineers,
Sherry Eagle, Aurora, IL
Carpet & Flooring
Carpet: Interface Carpet
Beldon, and Glen-Gary
HVAC / Controls
HVAC Units: Herman