Walter Payton College Prep Annex

1034 North Wells Street

“Payton gives kids from across the city an opportunity to think big, dream big, realize big.”

–  Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Nestled on the near north side of Chicago, Walter Payton College Preparatory High School has become the quintessential space for student achievement. The school’s new annex raises potential enrollment by one-third, increasing access to one of the top-rated high schools in Illinois. Students reporting for the first day of the 2016/17 school year found a spacious café, competition-size gym, black box theatre, dance studio and more in the new 49,000-square-foot facility.

Its design takes its cues from the legacy building without resorting to replication, utilizing a complementary palette and referencing its asymmetrical design through a rotated third-floor gymnasium. The project also features renovations in the existing building, including transforming former theatre space into a standard classroom and a special education classroom into a biology lab. The work at Payton helps broaden the range of educational opportunities for our future leaders, providing the resources necessary for a 21st-century education.

The critical capital investments into Walter Payton College Preparatory High School have helped to grow the school’s capacity while ensuring students, many who are community residents, learn in a safe, modern and comfortable environment. The annex houses 14 classrooms featuring dedicated space for art and music, special education, dance and driver’s education. In addition, the annex features a multipurpose blackbox theatre, gymnasium with locker facilities, a fitness room and a student lounge. The team of KOO LLC and Paschen /Milhouse Joint Venture designed and built the annex in the near north community.

Many of the school’s interior and exterior amenities are available for community recreational use after hours and on weekends. This new learning environment also represents an example of how great public buildings foster sustainability within the community while serving as a developmental engine for the neighborhood.

“Thank you for all you and your team are doing to make Payton an even more vibrant school. Consider this: the new building will allow us to educate ~100 additional students per year over the life of the new building. Thus, you and your team are making it possible to expose at least 7,500 young souls to the Payton experience, which has proven to be a rich opportunity for kids across Chicago’s socio-economic spectrum and neighborhoods.”

– Tim Devine, Principal of Walter Payton College Preparatory High School

Payton was the winner of the Chicago Building Congress’s 2017 Merit Award in the category “New Construction Under $55M – Chicago.” Read the press release about this award here.

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