Building Blocks: Dearborn STEM 6-12 Early College Academy, Boston Public Schools

By: | Issue: February, 2019
January 14, 2019
IMMEDIATE AND FUTURE SUCCESS—STEM Academy students—a majority of whom live in low-income homes and half of whom are ELLs—have taken internships at places such as Massachusetts General Hospital while other students have created a toiletry organizer business. The school plans to offer career pathways in computer programming, engineering, graphic design and health.IMMEDIATE AND FUTURE SUCCESS—STEM Academy students—a majority of whom live in low-income homes and half of whom are ELLs—have taken internships at places such as Massachusetts General Hospital while other students have created a toiletry organizer business. The school plans to offer career pathways in computer programming, engineering, graphic design and health.

 

One of the oldest districts in the nation recently completed its first construction project in 15 years by rebuilding a school to accommodate STEM learning for grades 6 through 12.

CHALLENGE: Administrators in Boston Public Schools wanted to make an existing school more STEM-driven, but since the building could not support the necessary renovations, it was demolished to make way for a new facility.

“We had to shut down adjacent streets several times because the building was in a tight neighborhood,” says Brian McLaughlin, chief of staff of the Boston Public Facilities Department. 

During construction, classes took place on the fourth floor of a nearby high school. “Class and office spaces were very limited,” says McLaughlin. “It was hard to establish a distinction between middle and high school, which is important for students’ sense of identity and morale.”

SOLUTION: The Dearborn STEM 6-12 Early College Academy offers students a 128,000-square-foot facility with a soaring central atrium bathed in natural light. The new school, which can accommodate 600 students, includes two fabrications labs, a media center, a dance studio, 3D printers and laser die cutters. 

“As our community wanted, we now have an excellent school that prepares students to compete for top jobs in Boston’s tech-driven career landscape,” says McLaughlin.

COMPLETION: August 2018

BUDGET: $73 million

PROJECT TEAM: Architect: Jonathan Levi Architects (Boston); constructors: Gilbane Inc. and Janey Construction Management (Boston); project managers: the Boston Public Facilities Department and Daedalus Project Managers (Boston).