Midwest Young Artists Conservatory

Lake County Arts Center

Highwood, Illinois

Since its establishment in 1993, the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory (MYAC) has grown into the largest youth ensemble program in the Midwest, with an enrollment of more than 900 students and hosting six youth orchestras, three chamber orchestras, jazz and big bands, choral groups and an early childhood music program—all without adequate facilities or an actual performance space. Upon acquisition of property adjacent to their current facility, we were engaged to conduct a planning, programming and feasibility study for the design of a new performing arts center. The study identified and quantified pressing space needs, evaluated site considerations, reviewed jurisdictional regulations, analyzed potential building systems. The team also prepared conceptual plans and renderings to convey the character, quality and excitement envisioned for the new center.

Recommendations included construction of a new center with a 700-seat concert hall, a large rehearsal/recital hall, ensemble instructional/practice rooms and a gracious lobby, offering students and parents an informal gathering space throughout the day and evening.

Project Data

53,000 gsf

Program & Highlights

700-seat concert hall
Rehearsal/recital hall
Ensemble instructional/practice rooms
Multi-use lobby


Project Development Manager: Rotholz, LLC
Theater: Schuler Shook
Acoustics: Kirkegaard Associates
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Civil Engineer: Bleck Engineering
MEP: Syska Hennessy
Construction Cost: Power Construction

The central lobby, at the intersection of the north-south and east-west axis, is a multifunctional space—part living room, part "hang-out," part special event space