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John M. Palmer Elementary School Renovation & Annex Addition

The John M. Palmer Elementary Renovation Project involved concrete structural repair to a Chicago Public School built in 1925, including a new roof and various interior finishes.

Discovered conditions included advanced structural failure, spandrel scope changes, a failing vaulted parking lot, and issues from a previous 1985 renovation that required correction. Blinderman’s innovative solutions included designing a temporary penthouse to prevent weather infiltration during construction and creating a new semi-permanent entrance to the assembly hall to reduce the use of active school entrances.

The project featured extensive interior classroom renovations and structural steel and CMU structure. The Annex Addition Project involved constructing a new 35,000 SF, two-story annex to alleviate overcrowding. This annex included seven standard classrooms, one special-needs classroom, one computer classroom, one art classroom, one dance classroom, and one administrative office, as well as a new library/media center, dining/multipurpose room, hybrid kitchen, and support spaces.

The project also involved the addition of a new parking lot, stormwater detention system, new utility services, a new BAS and HVAC system, and an elevator. The Renovation project achieved 38% MBE/WBE subcontractor participation, while the Annex Addition project saw 31.8% MBE/WBE participation. Chicago residents performed 50% of overall hours worked, with local community members working 10.4% of those hours.


Chicago, IL


Chicago Public Schools / Public Building Commission of Chicago


$$14.8M (Renovation) / $18M (Annex Addition)


Historic Renovation / New Construction


Design-Bid-Build (Renovation) / CM at Risk (Annex Addition)


50,000 SF (Renovation) / 32,000 SF (Annex Addition)

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