East Prairie School
East Prairie, the only school in SD 73, enrolls students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The new $47 million elementary school in Skokie was made possible by a successful November 2016 referendum.
Eriksson Engineering Associates, Ltd. (EEA) provided civil engineering, traffic engineering and parking, and landscape architecture services for the new three-story school that was built on the existing school site. The new school facility was designed, permitted, and constructed in several phases in order to maintain site and building access. As a result of limited building space, the new school was constructed such that it partially encompassed the existing building, which remained operational throughout the school year.
To reduce project costs and time associated with excavation, EEA designed an underground stormwater detention system that was strategically placed within the footprint of the existing basement. The use of permeable pavers was also implemented in the site design to meet applicable municipal and county stormwater management requirements, in addition to the underground detention system.
Traffic improvements were provided in conjunction with the overall site improvements. To address frequent congestion caused by a single loading zone in the existing condition, EEA assisted in developing three separate loading areas for students. Parent pick-up and drop-off were separated from school bus pick-up and drop-off to improve pedestrian safety. Parents can use the circular drive, which allows for drop-off directly at the main entrance for younger students and a specified curbside location along East Prairie Road for older students. School bus loading and unloading occur in the remote parking lot located near the corner of East Prairie Road and Howard Street.
As a part of the approval process, EEA prepared site engineering drawings that took into consideration the Village of Skokie’s Complete Street Program. EEA presented the plans at several meetings and public hearings. A lack of on-site parking at the school made teachers and students reliant on on-street parking in the nearby neighborhoods. To address the school’s needs, EEA designed several parking lots to meet the District’s needs. EEA’s landscape architecture team worked to enhance the outdoor features of the new facility. The team assisted in the design of an outdoor shaded classroom with benches and turf seating areas, an educational rainwater harvesting system, a green roof, a rubberized surface play area, and a turf field for recreational use. EEA maximized the layout of the courtyard by including additional options for seating for students awaiting pick up or for outside study.
The East Prairie School received an Award of Merit in the 2020 IASB-sponsored Exhibition of Educational Environments (EEE). The EEE is an annual competition for outstanding school design projects. Secondly, East Prairie School won a Bronze Award in the 2020 Brick in Architecture Awards K – 12 Education category. This project was recognized for its outstanding design and unique brick placement.
Additionally, ENR Midwest named East Prairie School District 73 Elementary School the 2021 Best K-12 Education Project for 2021.