In 2014 the citizens of Quincy, Illinois passed an 89 million-dollar referendum for the construction of five new elementary schools and an addition to the existing high school. All five of the elementary schools used precast concrete products with gymnasiums constructed as FEMA storm shelters built to new ICC 500 standards.
The 67,000 square foot Col. George J Illes Elementary School was released for bids in November of 2016 with a completion date of August 2018. The new school will house an anticipated 600 students in kindergarten through 5th grade.
Inspiration for the school’s design was generated by the landscape as defined by its nurseries and proximity to the Mississippi River. The connection with nature is a repeated element throughout the building with the forest canopy frieze at the top of the precast wall panels, the abstract expression of the forest canopy in the front entrance and cafeteria clerestory; and the use of leaf shapes forms the way finding patterns throughout the building interior. The design reflects the spirit of the local community.
Insulated prestessed concrete wall provided the structural component as well as the exterior architectural finish. This finish was achieved with a special mix design and an etched finish as well as a custom form liner for the frieze at top of panels. Insulated wall panels used non-bridging thermal connectors between the wythes.
The interior side of the panels received a hard trowel finish to serve as the final finish for the classrooms and other exposed areas. Electrical boxes and conduit were also cast into the panels.
The school is named for Col. George J. Illes, who was born in Quincy and attended elementary and high school there and who then graduated from Quincy College. Upon graduation he joined the US Army and was part of the elite group known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Col. Iles spent 30 years in the service of his county and served in WW II, the Korean conflict as well as in Vietnam.