Sneak Preview: Pentucket Regional’s New Middle, High Schools 70% Complete

School and construction leaders recently discussed ongoing work in the foyer of the new Pentucket Regional Middle/High School. (Courtesy photograph.)

Pentucket Regional School District’s new middle and high schools are about 70% complete and should be ready for the start of the next school year.

A centerpiece of the new school will be the 600-seat Performing Arts Center, which will support the district’s signature arts and music programs and serve as a gathering place for community programs and activities.

“This will be such a beautiful facility,” Superintendent Justin Bartholomew said. “There is nothing like this in the area.”

The building also will include a drama studio to allow for smaller group work and performances.

The new, 211,700-square-foot school will house about 970 students when it opens. It replaces the current middle school, which opened in 1967, and the high school, which opened in 1958. Officials said the two current buildings have outlived their useful existence and restrict the district’s ability to educate students to their full potential.

A two-story wing will house students in grades seven and eight, while a separate three-story wing will house students in grades nine through 12. The two wings are joined by a large foyer and dining commons.

Individual classrooms are designed to be flexible and maximize interdisciplinary learning opportunities. For example, some class spaces are split by dividers, which can be removed to allow classes to work together.

“In our buildings now, you may have 25 of the same desks,” said High School Principal Jonathan Seymour. “Every classroom now will have a variety of furniture.”

Pentucket Regional High School’s curriculum places a large emphasis on movement science and athletics, and several class areas are devoted to that discipline. For example, a kinesiology lab will be used for education during the day, and double as a weight room and training area for student-athletes later in the day.

The new school is tracking toward(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold designation. A state-of-the-art HVAC system and solar roof panels will reduce the building’s energy footprint and lower carbon emissions. It is estimated these measures will save $2 million in energy costs during the next 20 years.

Hallways contain expanded learning areas, allowing students to work on group projects or for teachers to lead small group or tutoring sessions.

Both existing buildings will be demolished. Those areas will be used to create athletic fields and parking.

The new school was designed by Dore and Whittier, with Vertex serving as owner’s project manager, and W.T. Rich serving as construction manager.

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