Since 2010, EEA has assisted Harper Community College with several projects at its Palatine, Illinois Campus. In 2013, the college hired EEA as a prime consultant for a two-phase Graduation and East Campus Landscape Architecture project.
The project entailed transforming a six-acre parking lot located on the south shore of Harper Lake and north of campus building D, into a large lawn pavilion space with an amphitheater nestled against the lake. To make the amphitheater fully-accessible, the scope also included improvements to exterior areas of buildings D, H and E. The completion date was set for the Harper College Graduation in May of 2016.
In 2014, EEA’s civil engineering and landscape architecture team began preparations for phase one of the project. EEA provided site layout, site demolition, grading, stormwater design, sewer improvements as well as the design of hardscape walkways and emergency access roads. Based on the set design perimeters, EEA recommend a canopy structure to shade the sun and act as a backdrop to the stage area. A key consideration for the project was to maintain an open lawn area for seating flexibility. To successfully achieve this, EEA reduced impervious surface area of the soil by 10 percent and contoured the slope towards the amphitheater stage to create stadium-style seating.
As part of this large project, EEA also coordinated other improvements associated with building construction, including two additional gathering areas, pedestrian walkways and two patio plazas located off of building D. Buildings D and H also received landscape restoration improvements based on pre-selected plant palettes from EEA’s landscape architect.
The amphitheater space was completed on time for Harper College’s 2016 Spring Commencement Ceremony. By incorporating landscape at the start of the design phase and researching many canopy options, EEA was able to complete the project under the initial budget.
On graduation day, the newly-designated multi-purpose space with a 4,500 person capacity comfortably accommodated 3,500 seated attendees.