LOCATION : Aurora, Illinois
MARKET : Education
AREA : 114,000 SQ FT
West Aurora School District 129

As a part of an overall $70M referendum, the plans for this new school, located on a 38-acre site in northwest Aurora, incorporated a "Heartland" theme in keeping with the site's rural roots and the City of Aurora's zoning plan. Part of the City's "Countryside Vision Plan", which focuses on open-space protection and flood mitigation, the new middle school takes advantage of the natural topography, utilizing natural plantings and existing land contours to handle water runoff. The site is fully ecological and environmentally friendly. Cordogan Clark teamed with Architecture for Education (a4e) for the design of Herget Middle School.

The building design incorporates the area's farm history, resembling structures you see on a farm. The building provides generous daylight and maintains views of the land outside, including the forest preserve just west of the site. The design of this 850-student school is very flexible and adaptable to new teaching strategies.

The building is a single-story, brick structure with two wings, each with a distinctive use. One wing contains administrative offices, a cafeteria, gym, and art and music spaces. The second wing houses academic spaces, including six clusters of classrooms. These clusters follow the "school within a school" concept containing a science lab and several classrooms and fit with the team approach to teaching currently utilized within the district middle schools. The new middle school also contains classroom space shared between Aurora University and District 129 professionals.