The new one story Langston Hughes Elementary School, a replacement school for 900 students including those with developmental disabilities and special health needs, is the first CPS school designed based on the principles of universal design. Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
The building surrounds an exterior discovery garden that is specifically designed to encourage interaction with adjacent special needs classrooms. Two story volumes, containing library, gym, administration, and music functions, form the buildings four outside corners and provide sheltered entries for the students. The school is part of a campus that includes two outdoor play areas, a garden, and an accessible wheelchair softball field. The building contains an extensive green roof, clerestory light monitors that provide day-lighting to classrooms and an innovative radiant air floor system. The building is designed to achieve a LEED Silver certification.