Sarah Goode STEM Academy High School

Sarah Goode STEM Academy High School

The Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy High School, developed as part of the Public Building Commission of Chicago’s (PBC) capital development program, exceeded its initial LEED Silver target, achieving LEED Platinum certification with no impact on budget – this innovative project was delivered at a similar per-square-foot cost as the prototype high school built during the same period.

This was achieved through a highly collaborative and integrative design process with forward-thinking sustainability strategies that used off-the-shelf parts. With an innovative mechanical system with a dedicated outside air system, ground source heat pumps with enthalpy exchange through more than 170 geo-exchange wells, and solar thermal panels, the school has returned energy savings beyond what was modeled.

The site features a vegetated roof with a bird habitat and a sculptural water harvest system that captures rainwater to irrigate raised garden plots. The project reclaimed and remediated a former industrial brownfield property and provides outdoor amenities that serve the neighborhood as well as the school.

Cotter served as the sustainability manager and provided program and project management services as part of a capital development program with the Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC) which includes over 85 LEED-certified buildings to date, in alignment with the City of Chicago sustainability goals.



LEED Platinum Certification


  • Excellence in Engineering Award from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air- Conditioning Engineers)
  • 2015 USGBC-IL Chapter Emerald Award-Green Building Innovation
  • 2014 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award – Honorable Mention
  • 2014 Association of Licensed Architects Silver Medal
  • 2014 Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) – Pride in Construction Award
  • 2014 American Society of Landscape Architects, Illinois Chapter – President’s Award of Excellence
  • 2014 Illinois Association of School Boards Exhibition of Educational Environment Award of Merit
  • 2013 Brick in Architecture – Gold for Education
  • 2013 Learning by Design Publisher’s Commendation Award
  • 2013 Friends of the Chicago River Green Ribbon
  • 2013 Chicago Association of Realtors Good Neighbor Award
  • 2013 ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Award of Engineering Excellence
  • gb&d Magazine -Sept/Oct 2014

Chicago, Illinois



Square footage


Project completion

Project Team

In developing the Sarah Goode STEM Academy the stakeholders came into an inspiring alignment of intent, curiosity, creativity, and commitment. The integrative design process resulted in an exemplar project even beyond its LEED Platinum certification. The Sarah Goode school provides a wonderful learning environment, which the school administration parlayed into an amazing teaching tool for students, staff and community alike.

What our clients are saying

This project should serve as a model for sustainable design and underscores how innovative thinking, an integrated design process and the use of green technology results in benefits to the environment, the students, and our communities.

Erin Lavin Cabonargi

Executive Director of the PBC

Have a project
in mind?