Harper College

Palatine, IL

Case Study

Extensive Renovation Creates Welcoming Learning Environment

Harper College is one of the nation's premier community colleges, serving more than 35,000 students annually in Chicago's northwest suburbs. The College offers 40-plus degree programs and more than 100 career certificates. Harper's Building D, virtually unchanged since opening in 1969, recently received an extension renovation.

Building D now meets LEED Silver standards and provides enhanced accessibility. The renovations bring natural light into every modernized classroom and the building's acoustics were greatly improved.

According to campus architect Steve Petersen, KI furniture is used throughout because of the company's commitment to service, its product quality, and its attention to education trends.

"We're always looking for innovative ways to incorporate different types of furniture that can meet various faculty needs and we know KI is always introducing something new for those needs," said Petersen. As an example, Petersen pointed to the whiteboards that are used in the building's lecture halls and placed between fixed seating to encourage collaboration.

The lounge and the furniture selections were first and foremost designed for the students. It has become one of the most centered and student-filled spaces on the campus.

– Steve Petersen

KI furniture complements the architectural changes to bring Building D into the modern era of education. A centerpiece of the renovated building is the two-story, glass rotunda that serves as a welcoming learning environment for students to meet and study. Designing the space to engage and accommodate students was “priority one” said Petersen.

“The space itself was meant to be transparent. Students can view the lake beyond the building and feel connected to campus,” said Petersen. He describes the impressive lounge as a very flexible, durable, and comfortable space. “There are spaces that are intimate, or the space can be manipulated and used for seminars,” Petersen explained. Petersen said all of the lounge furniture is used heavily and loved by the students, particularly the orbital Sway chairs.

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