River Trails/Prairie Trails Early Learning Center
Eriksson Engineering Associates, Ltd. (EEA) and FGMA used an extensive LCCA process that led to the decision to renovate an existing building into a new Early Learning Center (ELC). This project was led by FGMA and the renovation of this 1960’s era facility will be the first “net zero energy performance” facility in its community. The project includes a $2M grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation due to the efficiency of systems incorporated into the design. Importantly, the building’s energy efficiency also enhances air filtration, a key strategy to mitigate the spread of infectious disease.
The civil components EEA designed revolved around stormwater infiltration and mitigation. All of the existing asphalt parking and drives were replaced with permeable brick pavers. The asphalt was specified to be recycled and the new permeable pavers are backed by the provider with a 45-year guarantee. To help reduce cost and reduce refuse generated from the site work, we reused existing stormwater infrastructure where possible. The sustainable efforts continued with an eye on environmental impacts. The site stormwater discharges to an adjacent creek. The new paver system reduces the potential contaminated runoff to the creek. Additionally, all stormwater on the site was routed through a naturalized wetland style detention basin that will in the future serve educational needs for the students.
The ELC has space for 10 Kindergarten classrooms and 4 Pre-K classrooms, space for music and art, and a “natural” playground, allowing teachers to incorporate the outdoors into their curriculum. This building is a continuation of River Trails School District 26’s leadership and vision of creating environmentally-friendly learning environments.