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When the 320 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade start their new school year at Evanston’s Chiaravalle Montessori School on Tuesday, they will experience a new addition, affectionately referred to as the New North Wing.

Architect Stuart Brodsky of Cannon Design outlined some of its features Tuesday night at a special preview showing to board members and the press.

The wing will greatly expand the space available to students and faculty in a LEED Platinum structure that incorporates the latest in green sustainability construction, including geothermal heating and cooling, a “green” roof, and a number of solar panels.

The new three-story addition features a global learning lab, the scientifically-oriented Da Vinci Studio, a music and movement studio, drama studio, library, and a gymnasium that is double the size of the gym it replaces.

A portion of the new library.

Head of School Robyn McCloud-Springer says the new facility “will be able to provide students with an ideal stage for hands-on, integrated studies and innovation.”

Architect Brodsky explains that the addition brings students together “in a 21st Century learning environment, offering flexible space for movement, collaborative learnings, performing arts, and more.”

The green roof, he said, efficiently manages storm water and lessens energy spent on heating and cooling.

Upon certification, Brodsky said, Chiaravalle would be the first LEED Platinum certified Montessori school in the United States and the first private school in Illinois.

Head of School Robyn McCloud-Springer

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at noon Tuesday, with remarks by Ms. McCloud-Springer and by Jes Sherbourne, president of the school’s Board of Trustees, followed by guided tours of the facility.

Another big date on the school’s calendar for this year is the 50th anniversary celebration to be held Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2 and 3.

Located at Hinman Avenue and Dempster Street, the majority of the school’s programs are housed in the historic building designed by prominent  Evanston architect Daniel Burnham. The school rents additional space for its Middle School from the First Congregational Church nearby.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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