A former Kmart in the Chicago suburb Waukegan will be reborn as an innovative school with an equally progressive design. Curbed Chicago reports the project to convert the former store into Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, which will serve more than 400 students with financial needs, is underway. 

Notable Chicago architect JGMA will be designing, so Cristo Rey won’t have the flourescent lighting and sterile environment of your typical school. Heavy on glass and focused on natural light and green space, the design seeks to shed any big-box-store vibes and reject the concrete-heavy suburban look of the area.

The hallmark of the design is cutting three sections out of the building’s roof and facade, which will allow natural light to stream into all classrooms and will provide common areas in between teaching spaces to give the school a “campus” feel. A soccer field will cover a former parking lot, and paths connecting the different parts of the building will provide outdoor learning areas and connection to a natural marsh.

Suburban Chicago Kmart begins transformation into innovative new school [Curbed Chicago]