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Coyne + Associates Architects would like to thank Chicago Public Schools for recently presenting us with the Capital Improvement 2013 Architect of the Year award for our work on the CICS Chicago Quest school project. Awards don’t come along very often in any walk of life, so we would like to express our gratitude at being recognized, as well as thank the Design Management team at CannonDesign, the Project Director team at Jacobs, the construction management team at Lend-Lease, our sub-consultants Prism, GRAEF, IRCA, and Cosentini, as well the K.R. Miller Contractors team and subcontractors for all working together to pull off a great project.
The experience on the Chicago Quest school project is just another reason why our firm is very passionate about working with school districts and charter schools to upgrade schools and create outstanding learning environments for the children of Chicago. The Coyne + Associates team thoroughly enjoys the challenges of meeting time and budget constraints on difficult projects while turning out great results.
The CICS Chicago Quest school project included a complete gut of interior work as well as new facades, roofing system and mechanical systems. The newly designed high school facility includes innovations labs, science labs, classrooms and administration spaces. The new facades incorporate the use of pre-finished modular cement panels, allowing the tight schedule to come together quickly.
Jamieson Elementary School was hoping for a new playground, among other necessary facility improvements. Coyne + Associates Architects was hired to design the school facility upgrades as well as the exterior site improvements, including a new playground.
Chicago Public Schools planned to utilize a playground construction program known as Groundbreakers that is comprised of CPS high school students that are gaining experience in “hands-on” construction, as well as allow the district to provide more playground construction throughout the city of Chicago than otherwise possible through traditional construction means.
With very tight summer construction schedules, the Groundbreakers were challenged to meet the required schedule of the overall construction project. Additional site work, including playground surfacing, landscaping, new asphalt, fencing, parking striping, and other work would still need to be completed after the playground and still prior to the opening day of school.
Giving Back to the Community
To support the overall project as well as giving back to the community, Coyne + Associates Architects offered to contribute towards the playground construction effort. Patrick Coyne, the principal, along with other Coyne + Associates employees, including project manager Stephanie Lockemann, performed construction duties such as digging, shoveling, bolting, holding, and placing concrete. Jennifer Mejia, the construction manager, lead the team of volunteers and professionals to work together placing and erecting the life-size toy set. Even Cory Davis, the Director of Capital Renovation and New Construction for Chicago Public Schools, pitched in to assemble the playground.
Patrick Coyne also recruited his son, James and his friend Dakotah (also CPS students) to pitch in with the efforts, allowing them to get “hands-on” experience while giving back to the community.
Reward of Volunteering
The work was a bit of a challenge; sweating in the heat of the summer, solving the “puzzle” of the playground system “kit-of parts”, and just getting done whatever needed to be done, even if you’ve never done it before. Even though we enjoyed a decent lunch break, by the end of the day most of us were exhausted.
There was such a great rewarding feeling on the opening day of the playground to watch the students, and general children in the community, LOVING the playground! The loud screams of joy and laughter were such a great reward to all of us that pitched in to make that possible!