Avery Coonley Lower School Renewal


The Avery Coonley School


FGM Architects


Construction Manager

In continuation of a ten-year ongoing relationship with The Avery Coonley School, ICI completed a major renewal of the institution’s Lower School during the 2014-2015 calendar year. The Lower School is the oldest part of the building, first occupied in 1929, and was in need of both infrastructure and aesthetic improvements to enhance the learning environment for the students.

ICI partnered with Avery Coonley and the school’s architect, FGM Architects, during the preconstruction process to evaluate mechanical and electrical systems, run cost scenarios and provide constructability and scheduling input.
The majority of the construction took place during the school’s summer break. The volume of work performed within this tight time frame required close coordination and monumental effort from the ICI staff and their team of subcontractors.

The full scope included the replacement and upsizing of electrical systems. Window air conditioning units were removed and replaced with a central air conditioning system. Lighting was replaced throughout every classroom as well as the library. The fire sprinkler piping and electrical conduit originally were exposed. All of this was replaced and concealed within the ceiling to provide a more streamlined appearance for the classrooms.

Each learning space was rejuvenated with new paint, carpeting, furniture and technology. Lastly, the existing interlocking octagonal learning “cubes” housed within the space that over time had become one of the hallmarks of Avery Coonley were disassembled, removed and replaced by new, custom-built learning “cubes”. The new cubes interlock similar to the older version, and each is furnished with lighting, a personal drop-down desk, carpet and a cushion.

Within the school’s library, ICI installed new fixtures, furniture and carpeting. Additionally, an existing underutilized room at the far end of the library was converted into three separate, more intimate spaces for small group learning or individual study. The entire library was painted, most notably the ceiling beams were rejuvenated with a burnt umber hue.

Prior to embarking on the construction phase, a decision-making team comprised of members of the school board and administration participated in a year-long process of discovery and research to determine the vision for the Lower School. The finished product exceeded expectations and has allowed the school to realize their vision.

RELATED: Avery Coonley School Master Plan Updates & Improvements