Students gather at the entrance to the new high school, which incorporates
both new construction (above) and adaptive reuse of three vacant buildings.
The story of the Trenton Daylight/Twilight High School is one of renewal and rebirth—both of the classic buildings that symbolize the city's past and the youth that represent its future.
The $39 million, 101,000-sf urban infill project locates the high school—which serves recent dropouts and students who are at risk of dropping out—within three existing vacant buildings. Twin, five-story structures that date to the early 20th century serve as bookends for the new campus, which also takes in a new three-story building and an open plaza in a secured courtyard.
The Building Team, led by general contractor Joseph Jingoli & Son and architect USA Architects, had to deal with existing buildings found to be structurally unstable and “squeezing” mechanical systems into the historic buildings. Working closely with the city and residents led to the inclusion of amenities like a 9,000-sf community room. The project also achieved a high level of community participation: 56% of construction dollars were awarded to minority- and women-owned companies, small business enterprises, or local companies.
“This high school project is very impressive,” said Walker C. Johnson, FAIA, principal with Johnson Lasky Architects, Chicago, and honorary chair of BD+C's Reconstruction Awards judging panel. “With Trenton being in a severely disadvantaged part of the country, the strong emphasis on high school education and rehabilitation of community buildings is extremely valuable.” —Dave Barista, Managing Editor