COD Architecture Alum Works on Naperville Renovation

Khushboo Shah

By Brian Kleemann

Khushboo Shah, who earned an associate’s degree in Pre-Architecture from College of DuPage, recently returned to her alma mater as a professional architect, working on plans for the recent renovation of the College’s Naperville Center.

As a student, Shah lived in Naperville and took a French language course at the Center as well as several placement tests. This experience served her well while working on renovations to the 20,460 square-foot Naperville Center, which includes a new classroom that will be used as a science lab, as well as new student lounge areas, a multi-purpose conference room and a faculty workroom. In addition, all classrooms have been updated to reflect a state-of-the-art learning environment.

“Having been to the center before, I was able to express to the design team the unfriendly, cold feeling of the building from the perspective of a student,” said the current Bolingbrook resident. “The interior and exterior spaces were dated and unwelcoming. The 1990s classrooms did not function well for current technology, particularly laptops. In addition, the layout of the building was hard for part-time students and visitors to navigate since classrooms were isolated from student areas.

“The reconfigured design of the interior, along with the vibrant colors used in the facility, really brightens up the experience inside and out.”

Shah’s interest in architecture comes from her father, who is in the construction materials business. He saw the dedication and creativity an architect brings to any project and pushed her to pursue it as a career. When her family moved from India to the U.S., she started at College of DuPage based upon her uncle’s advice.

“It was one of the best recommendations I could have taken. Attending COD helped me to adjust to this country since I was able to take courses and live at home,” she said. “Initially, the Architecture program asked for a lot of patience, but the faculty brought the students some fun and challenging projects. Their one-on-one attention with each student and excitement for every project are really what motivated me to continue.”

In addition to living at home and being a full-time student, Shah worked part-time and was able to use those savings when she was accepted into the prestigious Versailles program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She spent her junior year in France and then returned to UIUC, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a master’s degree in Architecture.

After graduating in May 2013, she traveled to China for five weeks to participate in the Solar Decathlon China 2013 competition, which was started by the U.S. and Chinese governments to promote sustainable economic and social development while encouraging the use of renewable energy sources. In 2014, she began working at Bailey Edward, which was established in 1991 as a woman-owned firm.

“Since I started there, I have put my education to work on projects for the General Services Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, Argonne National Laboratory, South Dakota State University and the department of Veterans Affairs, in addition to working on this amazing project to renovate the Naperville Center for College of DuPage,” she said.

The Naperville Center renovation also included taking the space for the Cosmetology program, which was relocated to the College’s Addison Center, and converting it to offices, while former offices were converted to classroom space. The front entrance was redesigned into a more defined, welcoming area; the exterior was upgraded to tie into the look of the main campus in Glen Ellyn, with new energy-efficient glazing; and a new HVAC system with digital controls was installed on the roof and the distributed ventilation elements upgraded, which allowed for maximum reuse of existing ductwork and provided for lower energy consumption.

“Bailey Edward gave me the opportunity to work on the project during every phase,” she said. “The majority of my time was spent developing the project through the design development and construction documentation phase and producing the design in AutoCAD,” she said. “I related to the project not only as an alumnus of COD, but also because the fast pace and small team – which focused on creating a beautiful and functional design – was similar to the studio culture in the Architecture program.”

Shah considers College of DuPage one of the best cost-saving schools in Illinois with educational standards that parallel any prestigious university.

“The Architecture program is constantly updated to match what students might need to meet the real-world challenges,” she said. “The school provides an all-around curriculum that includes, but is not limited to, architecture history courses, computer drawing and presentation program courses, introductory structural courses, and more that prepare students to design a project. For example, I was first introduced to AutoCAD in one of my courses at COD and I use it daily for my work at Bailey Edward.

“My education at COD made the transition to the real world smoother.”

For more about the College of DuPage Architecture program, click here. For more information about the Naperville Center, call (630) 942-4700, email or visit