Uno Veterans Memorial Charter School Campus

The United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), Chicago’s largest Latino community group, recently was awarded a $98 million grant to build eight new schools, believed to be the largest charter school appropriation to any community-based organization in United States history. Presently serving 3,450 students, 91 percent of whom are Hispanic, UNO will educate more than 8,000 students annually when the new buildings open.

Northwoods was contracted in 2007 to help UNO grow into Illinois’ biggest charter school manager, converting an existing industrial building on the city’s working- class Southwest Side into three new charter schools known as the Veterans Memorial Charter School Campus. Northwoods performed the installation of all new heating and air conditioning, complete with chillers, boilers, cooling towers, hot water piping, gas piping and pumps. On an accelerated work schedule for a project that was LEED certified, Northwoods had to have all major mechanical equipment crane-lifted into the building’s penthouse, with limited access for equipment staging and crane set up. The schools were dedicated in June 2009 bearing the names of Latinos who were killed in U.S. military duty.

“This project was a LEED Certified design-build project that involved a very aggressive schedule. Northwoods played an instrumental role in the decision making of the HVAC system during the design phase, and provided alternate ideas that accommodated efficient results. Northwoods was well equipped to meet sensitive deadlines and turn over a 185,000-square-foot building with a fully functional heating and cooling system all being run by a brand new Building Automation System. Both materials and labor were expedited to the fullest extent in order to maintain project schedules due to the large build-out of the mechanical design. Northwoods’ commitment to the project was reflected in their outstanding performance.”

Roland Schneider, F.H. Paschen/S.N. Nielsen