June 7, 2022

Epstein is providing MEP/FP engineering services to JGMA for the redevelopment of the Neal Math and Science Academy in North Chicago. This middle school will be completely replaced with a new five-story building and will increase in size to 93,000 sf (from 88,000 sf) and house 625 students.

The school includes classrooms for core curriculum, tech lab/maker spaces, administrative spaces, a cafeteria and media center. The building is organized around a central “learning stair” where students, faculty and visitors can gather for presentations and events. The school includes a FEMA-rated storm shelter, which required special engineering consideration.

Epstein designed the HVAC systems for the building including hydronic heating, and rooftop air handling units for heating, cooling and ventilation. The storm shelter includes override controls to provide alternate ventilation if primary systems are knocked offline. Electrical systems include an emergency backup generator to support life safety systems and hot water circulation pumps. The storm shelter is served by a dedicated battery backup inverter system. Lighting is all energy-efficient LED, incorporating daylight sensors and a high level of controllability. MEP/FP systems were coordinated with JGMA’s design, taking advantage of exposed ceiling areas, ceiling clouds, and other architectural features. Epstein also designed the plumbing, fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems for the Neal Math and Science Academy.