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St. Francis High School

Science and Learning Center

Wheaton, IL

Completed 2011

LEED Platinum


The St. Francis High School commitment to quality education is evident in the recently completed Science and Learning Center Facility (LEED Platinum). The intimate and flexible learning environments encourage creativity and collaborative learning among students, teachers and the community at large.

The expansion was carefully oriented on the site to create an outdoor community space, centralize the school plan and utilize the many advantages of day lighting, natural ventilation and passive heating of the interior spaces while creating views and connectivity with the beautiful natural site. 

The Science classroom/labs, greenhouse, and green roof are envisioned to be interactive with the “green” high performance features envisioned for the building and thus will in themselves create an opportunity for cross-curricular learning. The photo voltaic panels, wind turbines, daylight light shelves, vegetated roofs and rain gardens can help students and teachers better understand the built environment while instilling a sense of stewardship for nature’s gifts.

The Learning Center is envisioned to be a flexible environment for the St. Francis community featuring reading and research spaces, group learning and smart classroom. The center also features a public entrance to a meeting room that will be shared used for community activities and presentations. Central to the design strategy is a careful environmental scheme which uses passive solar and natural ventilation to humanize and temper spaces resulting in reduced dependence on mechanical heating and cooling.

The Classrooms in the Science Suite were designed to make the most use of natural daylight, reducing electrical demand for artificial daylight. Day lighting studies were conducted with computer generated models, to determine reach of natural daylight into the classroom coming in from the side windows and skylights on top. The strategic placement of skylights on the front of the classroom, leaves the room evenly lit, with limited need for artificial lighting.

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