Somerset-Berkley Regional High School

Somerset, MA

The new Somerset-Berkley Regional High School project replaced a 1936 historic high school building, which was considered by residents as the most significant piece of architecture in Town and included many characteristic features of Greek Revival and Federal / Georgian (Colonial) Revival style architecture. The design of the new modern 21st Century educational facility respects the historic nature of the original architecture by including exterior detailing such as a pedimented portico, classical entry columns, dentil molding, classically proportioned window systems, cupola, and a swan’s neck split pediment above the main entrance.

The building is broken into smaller learning communities, and the larger core spaces - gym, dining, and performing arts - are separated from these academic zones to avoid disruption and congestion.  Because its pattern is formed around a central courtyard, the organization is one of the most efficient, compact, and effective in reducing gross square footage and gaining natural daylight.  The floor plan is organized vertically so that general classrooms, science labs, and large group rooms that have similar sizes, functions, and features stack to reduce the complexity of the structural frame. This simplifies construction and reduces the building’s overall exterior wall surface, thereby reducing construction costs and energy consumption.

The interior design, although detailed with wood crown molding, classical columns, and pilasters, displays a significantly more high-tech, technology driven, progressive educational facility that showcases the district’s robust fine arts and performing arts programs. The art suite includes a centrally located instructional studio and museum-quality art gallery to facilitate the instruction of multiple art disciplines simultaneously as well as exhibition.

The new building achieved a LEED Silver rating and includes many sustainable design strategies such as an energy efficient building envelope, high performance windows, rainwater collection system, high efficiency mechanical and lighting systems, optimum acoustics, rooftop photovoltaics, and low flow toilet fixtures.

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