About Our Building

The 80,000 square foot Youth Center was designed with the growth and achievement of young people in mind. Every aspect of the state-of-the-art facility communicates a belief in their potential. From the sun-filled dance studio to the two-story visual arts space, your child will be encouraged to explore their creative side. The youth center also houses a sound studio with recording and production capability, a broadcast newsroom for journalistic reporting, editing and taping news shows. The fully outfitted computer and technology lab equipped with a new 3D printer, and 8,000 square foot rooftop garden promote STEM learning in fun ways. The 600-seat auditorium, gymnasium and recreation room bring unparalleled assets to the community. A medical clinic operated by ACCESS Community Health Network and open to the community was added in 2011.


You can feel a sense of possibility here that you can’t on real ground.

— Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune

Architecture

The award-winning Gary Comer Youth Center was designed by John Ronan Architect to specifically support the activities of The South Shore Drill Team and programs for children of the neighboring Paul Revere School. Educational and recreational spaces wrap the Drill Team’s main practice and performance area, with major spaces exposed on the building exterior to promote the activity inside to the community, and invite participation.

The Comer Science and Education Foundation received the 2006 Patron of the Year Award from the Chicago Architecture Foundation for the Gary Comer Youth Center.

In 2007, John Ronan Architect received the First Place in The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards for Architectural Excellence in Community Design for the Gary Comer Youth Center. The Chicago Building Congress presented the Gary Comer Youth Center with the Merit Award for New Construction. The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd. selected the Gary Comer Youth Center as one of thirty-five distinguished buildings in the American Architecture Awards competition.


Architectural Photography © Steve Hall | Hedrich Blessing