Wight & Company, an Illinois-baser firm dedicated to integrated architecture, engineering and construction solutions, was the architect for Naperville’s Ann Reid Early Childhood Center (ECC), located in Naperville, Ill., which was recently LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The Ann Reid Early Childhood Center is the 1st newly constructed LEED Silver Certified public school dedicated to early childhood education in the United States.
“The children at Ann Reid get a firsthand experience of the sustainable landscape design from windows that frame seating areas that are snuggled within the millwork and finished with cushions. Just outside the windows rain is celebrated on stone pathways that follow sweeping curves to maximize the opportunity for infiltration before a last stop catch basin. Our goal was to create visible opportunities to connect the children with nature,” said Kevin Havens, director of design at Wight.
The Ann Reid ECC, which opened last summer, was designed as a “learning village” to accommodate the diverse educational needs of more than 300 children, ages three to five, in Naperville Community Unit School District 203. Its sustainable features include perimeter landscaping with bioswales and rain gardens with indigenous plantings.
“The school district and Naperville community wanted to incorporate as many green elements into this project as the budget allowed, and we’re proud to have helped them achieve this goal,” said Mark T. Wight, chairman and chief executive officer.
The building also supported the district’s desire to encourage children to be more engaged with the natural environment. Its numerous windows provide an abundance of natural light, which creates a feeling of openness and establishes a direct connection between the indoors and outdoors. In the instructional spaces, windows along the lower walls give children an up-close view of the landscaping.
Wight has designed more than 30 LEED-certified and -registered buildings, including those certified LEED Platinum, the USGBC’s highest designation. At the forefront of green design since the late 1990s, the company was the architect of one of the first LEED-certified buildings in the country, and in 2003, designed and built the first LEED-certified school in Illinois.
“Sustainable stewardship is a way of life in our company, and we work with our clients to promote environmental awareness and responsibility,” said Wight. “For each project, we offer varying levels of green design, or ‘shades of green’ as I like to say, to help them achieve the level of sustainability that best suits their needs to deliver significant economic, aesthetic and environmental benefits.”