Nestled within a small, ocean side city of Connecticut, the Engineering and Science University Magnet School (ESUMS) is at the forefront of STEM-centered education. Created as a public-private partnership with the University of New Haven and the City of West Haven, this institution provides comprehensive, rigorous programs to children with a passion for science.

Since ESUMS hardly prescribes to a standard, flattened approach to education, finding a physical space appropriate for its curriculum proved quite difficult. Instead of shoehorning its methodology into an existing facility, ESUMS looked to the designers at Svigals + Partners to develop a school custom-tailored to the needs of dynamic STEM education. In turn, the architect looked to Acentech to provide acoustics consulting for this unique project.

This school prides itself on offering a wide spectrum of different classes, coursework, and clubs — almost all of which require special equipment and space planning. From maker spaces to flexible classrooms to a lively entryway showcasing reliefs of history’s greatest scientists, this facility truly looks to inspire those that want to learn more about science and engineering. Yet, each of these types of spaces often come paired with a common concern: noise. Building robots, constructing architectural models, and even student-run lectures can interfere with the concentration of those nearby without proper sound isolation and reverberation control in place. Acentech’s team of acousticians looked to ensure that this dynamic approach to learning did not develop into giant distraction for kids taking a standardized test and administrators answering phone calls. With proper wall construction standards, mechanical system noise and vibration control, and thoughtful space planning, this facility can give students and faculty the best possible environments for learning.

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