Historic Joliet Central High School Undergoes a Stunning Restoration

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Gilbane Building Company recently completed a stunning restoration of Joliet Central’s Student Center – honoring the historic integrity while providing modern day upgrades

Photographer: Paul Schlismann Photography

Historic Joliet Central High School Undergoes a Stunning Restoration

This addition is about preparing us for the future, said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl McCarthy, but it was also very important to us that this new building maintained the historic feel and flow of our campus. The design accomplishes both just beautifully.

Gilbane Building Company recently completed construction of a stunning new 43,000 SF addition for Joliet Township High School District 204’s campus in downtown Joliet, Illinois. Designed by Wight & Co., the new structure features a three-story glass curtainwall façade that leads into a bright and inviting student center. Beyond that is a spacious, open plan cafeteria that can seat up to 600 people for events. The Student Center features several student collaboration spaces that provide more services to students in a 21st century learning environment. Construction of the Student Center also involved masonry restoration, utilities relocation and parking lot improvements. The building was unveiled at a grand opening celebration that drew a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,500 students, parents, teachers, administrators and elected officials.

Originally built in 1901, Joliet Central High School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. While the entire project was built to meet the needs of a 21st century educational environment, the historical integrity of the 115-year-old building was preserved. Throughout the project, architectural elements of the existing building were maintained, along with the school’s historical designation. Architectural elements included the incorporation of parapets and a limestone façade that retained the collegiate gothic appearance of the main building. A portion of the existing limestone façade underwent restoration, due to its prime location as the interior wall of the galleria.

“Gilbane is proud of our team’s work on the Student Center addition. This building will serve the needs of future generations of students, while still paying homage to the rich history of Joliet Central and the District as a whole,” said Doug Lim, Gilbane Building Company Vice President and Public Sector Leader.

“This addition is about preparing us for the future,” according to Superintendent Dr. Cheryl McCarthy, “but it was also very important to us that this new building maintained the historic feel and flow of our campus. The design accomplishes both just beautifully. It literally takes your breath away.”

Joliet Township High School District 204 has been a key client for Gilbane Building Company since originally starting work on the District-wide Renovations and Additions program in 1999. Gilbane has partnered with Wight & Co. on several projects since that first program. Throughout the years, working as a team with the District and Wight & Co. has blossomed into a seamless, collaborative partnership.

Groundbreaking on the project, which was shaped by a significant amount of community input, took place in May 2014. Construction was completed in several phases. Gilbane Building Company provided construction management services. Wight served as the designer and architect of record for the project. Wight also provided structural engineering, MEP engineering, interior design and landscape architecture services.

About Gilbane Building Company
Gilbane provides a full slate of construction and facilities-related services – from preconstruction planning and integrated consulting capabilities to comprehensive construction management, close-out and facility management services – for clients across various markets. Founded in 1873 and still a privately held, family-owned company, Gilbane has more than 50 office locations around the world. For more information, visit http://www.gilbaneco.com.

Gilbane has two permanent offices located in Chicago, as well as an extensive knowledge of the Chicagoland market including construction processes, area subcontractors/suppliers, local M/WBE contractors, and familiarity with Chicago jurisdictional authorities. With 38 years of success in the highly competitive Chicagoland market, Gilbane is committed to continuing the strong tradition of excellence in the Chicago construction industry.

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Breanne Auxier
Gilbane Building Company
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