Resilient Buildings Create Resilient Students

Combining Wellness and Net Zero Design

AIA Continuing Education Provider

1 LU / HSW

Over its history, Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL has demonstrated and sustained a track record of prioritizing healthy, high performing buildings and spaces. The school embodies a culture of continual improvement that extends beyond academic improvements to student wellness, building performance and sustainability practices. Sustainability is codified in operational policy and the campus Master Plan and serves as a key driver in decision making on campus. The District’s commitment to modeling and teaching wellness and environmental stewardship serves its students, instructors, and community members. When evaluating campus certifications for high performance design, including International Living Future Institute’s Zero Energy Certification and the WELL Building Standard (in addition to LEED), themes of resilience emerge:


  • A 1.3 MW photovoltaic system is installed on campus buildings, generating 1.7 MWh of electricity annually.
  • A natural gas peaker plant enables the campus to completely disconnect from the local electrical grid as part of a demand response program while maintaining full operations of buildings. This program generates a significant revenue for the school and also supports community resilience by reducing the burden on the electrical grid.
  • Energy saving strategies, from planned maintenance, equipment upgrades, and new construction/renovation mechanical infrastructure measures continue to make existing campus infrastructure more efficient, better enabling it to withstand power supply abnormalities.


  • 100% of stormwater is managed on campus through a combination of distributed best management practices to promote infiltration and an integrated, scaled campus system, thereby reducing community impact.
  • There are no process water loads that disproportionately consume fresh water resources. In fact, rainwater is collected and treated to use for one of the three living wall systems.


  • Daylight and views to the outside are emphasized throughout the campus.
  • Campus standards require no/low emitting building products in all projects and renovations, thereby eliminating a common source of indoor air contaminants.
  • The campus adopted a healthy food menu in all dining facilities in 2017. The latest food service location in the Patriot Wellness Center offers a wide range of healthy options that support the mission of the project.
  • A resident nutritionist is available to all students and staff to promote healthy diet decisions.
  • Social-emotional needs as well as academic support are met through the Student Services Team.
  • Group fitness and one on one coaching is available to all students. The fitness facility is open to students before and after class, on weekends, and during the summer.
  • DOAS mechanical systems are given preference to ensure the correct amount of OA is always provided to each space.

In addition, each VRF unit is equipped with bipolar ionization to purify the air within the building. The campus also relies on Ultraviolet light in mechanical equipment to further improve air quality. These features of campus infrastructure and policy in support of wellness and high performance design uniquely compliment each other to deliver a more resilient infrastructure on campus, and in doing so, support students to thrive – academically, physically and mentally.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn about the successful planning and implementation of the WELL Building Standard and Zero Energy Certification on a high school campus. Specific strategies that make the campus more resilient will be discussed.
  2. The role of master planning and visioning will be discussed for attendees to understand their underlying importance.
  3. Participants will understand how both the physical infrastructure as well as policy and programming influence the wellbeing of students and staff.
  4. Finally, participants will learn how programming decisions around facilities and food service can improve student outcomes and may be achieved without major capital cost implications.
John Mlade
John Mlade
Director of Sustainable & Healthy Environments, Wight & Company 

Since 2001, John has supported clients in shaping strategies for health and sustainability. He is recognized as a LEED Fellow, a member of the WELL Material Concept Advisory, and is Living Future Accredited. He promotes health in design through his roles as a Fitwel Ambassador and WELL Faculty. With John's support, design and construction teams, as well as corporate and education clients, are able to promote positive change within their projects, organizations and stakeholder groups.

Wes Del Prete
Wes Del Prete
Architect, Wight & Company

Wes has been dedicated to the design of educational spaces for more than 18 years. He is passionate about creating innovative, inspirational spaces for students and teachers alike, with an emphasis on sustainability. Focused on delivering high quality design in all stages of a project, his collaborative spirit and technical skills have been an asset to the team, particularly with complex phasing and site logistics.

Habib Osman
Habib Osman
Director of Facilities and Food Services, Wight & Company

Habib is the Director of facilities and Food services at Adlai E. Stevenson high school. He has been at Stevenson high school for 10 years now, prior to that he was the Director of Retail and Catering at Northwestern University. Under his role he oversees Maintenance, Custodial, Grounds, HVAC, building automation and Food Services including Catering on campus. For Sodexo he is currently the Regional Safety Coordinator and prior to that he was the Regional Sustainability Coordinator.

Track: Resiliency

This track focuses on Resiliency and addresses how learning environments support the development of students and communities that have the strength and flexibility to withstand adversity and adapt to change. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the essential role that schools have in stabilizing communities during a time of crisis. How do schools support the development of strong community culture among teachers and students? How do schools foster physical and mental health and wellness to ensure all are ready and supported to learn? How do we create learning environments that are strong in intent yet adaptable to change? How do we learn from what does not work and further, learn to take risks daily to expand our comfort zone? What can we learn from research and our responses to past events to inform how to build toward a resilient future where we can withstand what crises and challenges the future brings? Topic areas, seen through the lenses of both Art and Science, include sustainability, physical and mental health, community, school climate and culture, safety, and security.

Primary Core Competency
Design of Educational Facilities: Acts as a resource to the design team in providing ongoing guidance and support to ensure that the emerging and ultimate design aligns with the established community vision, education goals, future programming, written design standards, best/next practices and education policy.

LearningSCAPES 2023

October 12-15 | Hilton Chicago

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