Harold G. Fearn Elementary School

North Aurora, IL 
Perkins & Will
Honor Award


Site Plan
Learning Cluster
Floor Plan

Grades K-5
600 Students
58,000 SF
97  SF/student
$120 per Sq. Ft.
6 Acres
Completion: 2001

Spacer130W.gif (69 bytes)Spacer112.gif (68 bytes)
Spacer112.gif (68 bytes)



Perkins & Will
330 North Wabash Ave, Suite 3600, Chicago, IL  60611
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

School Contact:
Harold G. Fearn Elementary School, K-5
1600 Hawksley Lane, North Aurora, IL  60542
Contact: Dr. Sherry Eagle, Superintendent, 630-844-4430

Associate firms and products are listed below Planning Principles

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.

2. 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 performances.  Fearn 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 changing needs?
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.

Associate Firms:
Contractor: Wayne Seyller, A. J. Maggio Co.,  Mt. Prospect, IL
Mechanical:  Jeffrey Leverenz, Mechanical Services Associates Corp.,
     Palatine, IL
Structural: Robert Magruder, Thornton – Tomasetti / Engineers,
     Chicago, IL
Technology:  Dr. Sherry Eagle, Aurora, IL

Product Information

Carpet & Flooring

Carpet:  Interface Carpet Tiles
Flooring:  Armstrong StoneTex
Construction Materials
Brick/Masonry:  Boren, Beldon, and Glen-Gary
Windows:  Efco
Washroom Equipment
Fixtures:  Kohler
HVAC / Controls
HVAC Units:  Herman Nelson