Amesbury Elementary School
The existing Amesbury Elementary School was built in 1968. In addition to being undersized for its enrollment and modern educational needs, its existing systems are still in use but in need of replacement Repair, renovation, and addition options for the current building proved both cost prohibitive and difficult due to limitations of the old structure and significant wetlands, therefore other sites were sought. In addition, to create equity between the two elementary schools, the city determined that reconfiguring the grade organization so that the primary grade levels would be in the new school with grades 3–5 in Amesbury’s other elementary school was preferred.
The design takes advantage of its sloping site to minimize the building’s visible height, and incorporates transparency to provide natural light and allow the building to feel connected to its exterior environment. For a building of its size, the plan feels compact and easy to navigate; its minimal circulation space also functions as adaptive teaching spaces and project based learning in the form of project areas connected to groups of classrooms. There is also a “learning stair” that serves as a mini indoor amphitheater. The new school will incorporate the latest technology into its flexible design that will allow for curriculum changes as needed if future enrollment fluctuates.