Extreme Makeover: CYCHI Edition

City Year teams live and breathe flexibility. We walk into schools willing to work with what we get, and sometimes what we get are storage rooms. Thankfully the Chicago White Sox team serving at Paul Robeson High School got some much-needed help from architecture and design firm Gensler. The City Year room at Robeson was once cluttered with old files dating back to the 1960s and even a coffin (yep, a coffin). The room lacked a lot of the resources necessary to tutor students or hold afterschool programs. Enter Anne Gibson and Susan Harrington, and the rest of the Gensler team, who led visioning sessions with students and the City Year team to understand what the students desired for the room and what the City Year team needed for the room to be a multi-purpose space.

The revamped room includes a lot more storage and work space for the CY team and the Robeson students.

The Gensler team was kind enough to donate new furniture and a flat screen tv to the room.

The design and planning process took months, but when the actual cleaning and renovation took about a week. City Year and Gensler held a grand opening” reveal last Friday for staff and students at Robeson. The City Year team had to keep the room remodel a secret from students until the reveal — not an easy task — but all agree that it was well worth it to see the reactions of the students when they finally got a glimpse of the room.

Thanks to Gensler for giving the Robeson team the room they need to grow leaders and and build student academic achievement.

Check out the video below that follows the transformation of the CY Robeson room from to dreary to cheery!


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