The oldest elementary school in Belmont, MA, was replaced by a $39.7M facility, educating 575 pre-K through fourth grade students. The building was specifically designed for elementary age children, including facilities for those with special needs. Jonathan Levi Architects created an award winning structure, featuring geothermal heating and cooling, large clerestory windows in the classrooms, and a diffused air system.
Acentech was asked to consult on both the interior and exterior of the building. The unique design of the classroom windows, designed to bring increased natural light into the rooms, required a new approach to sound isolation constructions. In addition, the classrooms are larger than typically found in elementary schools, and have hard surfaces on all of the walls, increasing the reverberation. Other spaces in the building include a gymnasium, cafeterium, central atrium, and a media center.
Exterior noise to the community was also a major concern on the project. The school is situated in a very quiet suburban neighborhood; the background noise levels of this community are quieter than those measured at Boston Symphony Hall. Acentech performed several community noise studies before and after the rooftop mechanical equipment was installed, and suggested special constructions to the air handling units and the barriers around it. Due to the implementation of Acentech’s recommendations, the noise to the surrounding neighborhood met the stringent town guidelines.