The Beacon Academy in Evanston, IL, houses Chicagoland’s innovative Montessori-based high school. The space, housed in a renovated two-story former commercial suite with deep floorplates, faced multiple challenges due to limited daylighting and multiple level changes. The renovated, two-story school centers on a day-lit multi-purpose forum in which students meet between classes, preform impromptu dramas, and hold daily all-school meetings. The large volume of the forum helps daylight to penetrate deep within the suite, and allows glimpses of street life and trees throughout the school. Multiple level changes are resolved with tiered seating that forms an informal gathering space as well as a new monumental stair connecting the two main levels. Radiating out from this hub of activity are purpose-built laboratories, studio, and classroom space that support the school’s International Baccalaureate programs. Administration and faculty-support functions are distributed throughout the school in keeping with Beacon’s student-centered philosophy.