• LOCATION: City of Dixon, Illinois
  • CLIENT: Dixon Historic Center
  • SCOPE OF WORK: Feasibility Study, Cost Estimate, Plans, Specifications, and Contracts, Bidding Documents, Project Budgeting, Project Scheduling, Project Research, Development & Presentation of Multiple Design Concepts
  • WHA TEAM: Tom Houck, A.I.A., P.E., LEED AP BD+C

The Dixon Historic Center was originally constructed in 1908 as South Central School and was where President Ronald Reagan attended 5th, 6th and 7th grades. The building has been completely renovated and houses a research library and reading room, numerous exhibit rooms, President Reagan’s restored sixth grade classroom, an art gallery, a museum store, a surround sound theater and a large auditorium.

Willett, Hofmann & Associates, Inc. provided architectural, structural and civil engineering / site design services for the renovation and restoration, beginning with the structural analysis of the building’s second floor and roof. WHA designed the required structural repairs and improvements to bring the existing structure into compliance with current building code requirements. Following structural improvements, WHA designed a roof replacement for the facility and then began the design of the renovation of the entire third floor of the facility. The existing former classroom and attic space was renovated into a Library and Office, and the existing third floor Gymnasium was restored and renovated into a Reading Room with the addition of a mezzanine structure within the Gymnasium. Existing original Gymnasium components, including flooring and backboards, were salvaged, restored and reused to create a unique and interesting space for research and discovery. New ADA restroom facilities and storage areas were also added.

WHA also designed renovations and improvements to existing second floor spaces to create more efficient and flexible spaces to showcase the facility’s permanent collection, historical displays and traveling exhibits.

WHA also designed the parking lot, which includes an outdoor stage and an outdoor exhibit area.

Built to the Smithsonian Institution’s strict guidelines regarding HVAC, humidity control, and ultraviolet light restrictions, the DHC is one of only four Smithsonian Affiliates in the State of Illinois.