UNO Soccer Academy Elementary School

Chicago, Illinois


  • United Neighborhood Organization Charter School Network

    Project Size

  • 63,000 SF


As the first project in the community’s redevelopment master plan, the United Neighborhood Organization’s Soccer Academy Elementary School takes a bold step in revitalizing the local landscape. In addition to being a hallmark of academic and athletic achievement, this three-story charter school meets high standards of sustainability, earning LEED Silver Certification.

As the design-builder, Ghafari worked closely with UNO for common causes: providing an enhanced learning environment for students and spaces for community use, safeguarding the environment, and revitalizing the urban character of the site and beyond.


In addition to classroom spaces, the students have the benefit of specialized areas for art, music, special education, exercise and training, outdoor soccer and playground spaces. The facility features an outdoor amphitheater and indoor multi-purpose room where community events are often held.

Our team made sustainability a high priority throughout design and construction. A green roof with native vegetation creates a teaching opportunity while delivering environmental benefits. We also considered factors such as environmental impact, air quality, and low carbon footprint in specifying materials. Our application of metal panel and storefront glass systems for the exterior resulted in an energy-efficient building enclosure.

We engaged multiple minority and women-owned subconsultants and subcontractors for the project with MBE / WBE participation rates of 47.6% and 10.2% respectively. The project created a total of 375 jobs during the course of construction.


From many perspectives, this elementary school improves the quality of life for the people of its surrounding neighborhoods. Although our design-build team had less than a year to complete its work, we delivered on UNO’s vision for a remarkable building that serves the community as well as its students and faculty.