Optima, Inc. has completed the buildout of Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile’s new elementary school at Optima Signature, the firm’s mixed-use development at 220 E. Illinois Street in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood. Completed by Optima’s team in just three months, the new 14,000-square-foot elementary addition, which will serve grades 1 through 6, is now accepting registrations for in-person learning.
“As a vertically integrated firm, Optima was uniquely positioned to exceed construction timelines and deliver a new quality education choice in Streeterville at a time when so many parents need in-person alternatives to traditional schools,” said David Hovey Sr., CEO of Optima, Inc. and architect of Optima Signature.
The on-campus expansion comes on the heels of Optima, Inc. releasing four business suites at Optima Signature earlier this month to be used as pandemic learning pods, for both residents and nonresidents seeking home-based options due to the pandemic. According to Hovey, Guidepost Montessori has offered to work with families who use the pods if they need teachers, educational materials or supplemental learning programs as part of the school’s new Guidepost at Home program.
In addition to the at-home option and new in-person elementary wing, Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile also added an infant room, rounding out their ability to serve families from birth through elementary. While the early childhood programming runs year-round, the elementary program that kicked off Aug. 31 follows a traditional schedule and runs through June.
The Magnificent Mile expansion is part of Guidepost Montessori’s larger growth in Chicago, with three new early childhood campuses opening in Lincoln Park, Schaumburg and Edgewater, bringing the network’s total Chicago presence to seven regional schools. Magnificent Mile’s elementary school is open to all residents interested in its Montessori programming, regardless of prior enrollment at a Guidepost campus.
The elementary expansion features two new mixed-age learning environments with the capacity to eventually serve 80 students, though spots are limited as the network operates with smaller class sizes and heightened health and safety protocols due to COVID-19.
“We are so excited to be creating a Montessori elementary program for our families as we have seen Chicago’s clear desire for high-quality Montessori education, and that doesn’t abruptly end at kindergarten but truly grows with the child,” said Sarah Silverman, head of school of the Magnificent Mile campus. “Expanding into elementary allows us to take that next step with families, when children enter a powerful shift in how they learn from the ‘absorbent mind’ to the ‘conscious mind.’”