Science Building Project

rendering of new Science Building



The District 233 Board of Education has approved the issuance of a bid package for the school's new Net Zero Science Building Project. DLA Architects have been working closely with H-F teachers and administrators to design the space around the school's current and future needs. The new building, which will be connected to the G wing in the South Building, will house state-of-the-art Science classrooms, collaborative spaces, and a net-zero learning installation.


The building will serve as a catalyst for conversations about the importance of conservation — not just the conservation of energy — but also the conservation of species indigenous to the Illinois ecosystem. Outside signage emphasizing the importance of biotic factors (soil microbes, plants & wildlife) and abiotic factors (rain, air quality, wind & solar energy) will be around the building, challenging students and community members to consider how their own actions may positively or negatively impact the ecosystem they inhabit.


Inside the building, an interdisciplinary learning commons area will be available, along with a number of classrooms and labs. Real-time dashboards will also be on display, providing data about the building’s energy production and usage. These dashboards will be accessible for classroom and community observation and analysis. In addition, learning exhibits will be strategically placed throughout the building, focusing on specific branches of science and technology including the role that these play in the maintenance of a NetZero facility and an eco-friendly community. The exhibits will include:

• NetZero Initiatives
• Water and Recycling
• Biophilia
• Astronomy Displays
• Power and Energy
• Biology Display


GRANT OPPORTUNITY: The administration and architects have been working with the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation to secure a $2 million grant to support the creation of what would be only the second net-zero educational building in the state of Illinois. The building will include solar, geothermal and green construction materials and methods. From a pool of 80 proposals, the foundation has narrowed the grant applications to a very short list with Homewood-Flossmoor High School being the only one remaining. The foundation is particularly interested in the H-F project, as it will serve as an educational hub for those around the country who are interested in net-zero construction.

ENERGY SAVINGS: A building of this size would typically incur energy and maintenance costs of around $84,500 annually. As a net-zero building that cost will be reduced to $0.

FINANCING INFORMATION: The overall cost of the project was  estimated at around $25,700,000. Upon review by the Board of Education, the bid package was altered to include several value engineering options to give the Board flexibility to reduce the cost once bids are submitted. With the removal of these options, the estimated project cost is $19,082,00. That could be further reduced by the $2M clean energy grant. District 233 sold bonds in 2022 to pay for this project.

PROJECT TIMELINE (updated in April 2023 to accommodate value engineering options)

  • March 2023: Submit Illinois Clean Energy Grant Proposal
  • April 2023: Illinois Clean Energy Grant decision
  • May 2023: Bids are issued
  • June 21, 2023: Bids are due
  • Early July: Board of Education approval
  • End of July 2023: Construction begins
  • January 2025: Construction is completed

DLA Architects shared an initial project presentation at the Feb. 21, 2023, District 233 Board of Education Meeting. You can view this presentation in the box below. Value Engineering Options were implemented after the initial presentation.

Culinary & Fashion Design Expansion Project

An expansion of the Culinary course offerings at H-F — including the addition of a commercial kitchen that will allow students to earn restaurant management certifications — is also in the works. This project, which was bid out earlier this year but came back with costs significantly higher than anticipated, has been included in the larger Net Zero Science Building Project bid. H-F and architects anticipate that a more favorable bidding climate this spring, as well as a connection to the larger project, will bring the costs for this project down significantly. The anticipated cost is $3.1 million for this project. The bidding process will be as inclusive as possible to attract a diverse bidding pool for the project, while following all legal requirements. The space needed for the expanded commercial kitchen will allow Fashion Design classrooms to be moved into newly renovated spaces at the North Building. These classrooms will better serve the growing student interest in these career paths.