The new Saugus Middle/High School, which opened last September, will bring together of 1,300 students in a STEAM-driven complex outfitted for exploratory learning and innovation. The school is anchored by three building pods comprising a four-story high school wing, a three-story middle school wing, and a central connecting pod with shared community spaces.
Built on a 22-acre site adjacent to the old high school, students enter the 269,000-sf building onto the school’s “main street,” a central circulation route connecting public spaces within the school. This circulation route serves as a link between the 750-seat auditorium, cafeteria, gym, and Starbucks-style student cafe.
The school hosts grades six through twelve and separates the distinct middle and high school academic zones by the shared core spaces. Eighth and ninth graders share the same floor to ease the transition from middle into high school. Grade-level classroom pods establish small learning communities that are lit with natural light via large lightwells. Windows look into a multi-level lightwell to provide a visual connection between grade levels in order to foster a sense of shared space and experience. Students across all grades have access to maker spaces and tech shops such as a woodshed, a broadcast studio, and coding and web-aided design labs.
Classrooms were designed with flexibility in mind. They are 800 sf, 350 sf larger than a standard classroom space, to allow for easy adaptation and future flexibility. The building’s furniture and equipment can be quickly rearranged in response to specific project or group needs.
Each of the building’s three learning pods is characterized by one of Saugus’s vital industries: iron, ice, and lobstering. Each pod contains a custom mural communicating the story of its industry through a graphic lens. The history of each industry also informed color choices and materiality.
The high school space is illuminated by a large, sweeping lightwell that pays homage to 1600s ironwork technology. The overall form of the lightwell through which the shaft directs light draws inspiration from the Saugus Iron Works blast furnaces.
In addition to HMFH, the build team also included Suffolk Construction as the construction manager.