Director, Architectural Acoustics Group
The new Somerville High School opened its doors to some 1,600 students in the spring of 2021. The project is one of the largest and most costly in the state at $257 million.
Located at the crest of Highland Avenue, the site is a fulcrum of municipal and community activity, surrounded by City Hall, Somerville Public Library, and the new Gilman Square MBTA Green Line station. The new school unifies and connects these with a combination of new construction and artful reuse of some portions of the building dating back to 1895. Planning for the new school began in 2012, and was led by active Somerville community members and the designers at SMMA.
The six-story, 396,000-square-foot school has specialized learning spaces for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, science labs, art studios, three music rooms, a multi-level media center, a fully renovated gymnasium, a collegiate-style lecture hall, outdoor learning and dining areas, and state-of-the-art technology throughout. The historic gym (more recently a library), has been reborn as a new 750-seat auditorium, with the original façade and grand stair restored as a public entrance facing Highland Avenue. Large windows throughout the building bring in natural light and create connections with the outdoors.
Acentech provided audiovisual consulting services that included a design for presentation systems in the auditorium, dining commons, music rooms, lecture hall, large group instruction room, fitness rooms, and broadcast studio/control room. Our acousticians provided recommendations for sound isolation between noise-sensitive adjacencies, room shaping, and room finishes that promote good listening conditions and mitigate noise build-up. We also addressed HVAC system noise and vibration control, to help establish background noise levels that comply with LEED requirements.
The new high school supports a wide range of 21st century teaching and learning methodologies, encouraging multidisciplinary learning experiences. The new outdoor instruction areas and large-group facilities—including the gym, auditorium and lecture hall—support a stronger connection to the community and “beyond the classroom” learning for all Somerville residents.
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