Keene Middle School
“Keene Middle School…sets the standard to which all future school construction projects should strive to attain.”
– Virginia Barry, Ph.D., Commissioner of Education
750 ms students
1,000 core students
After our firm conducted an extremely thorough, 4-month long examination of the existing Keene Middle School structure, the Keene Board of Education decided to pursue a new school at a school district-owned site that would not only provide a state-of-the-art building, but also extensive playing fields and parking which is so lacking at the existing site.
The school design is built around the concept of team teaching, which subdivides the eventual 1,000 student population into groups of 125 students, providing teams with a distinct area within the school, and a small group of teachers that will get to know each student well. This was already a strong part of the curriculum in the old school, despite the fact that the layout of the building made implementing the approach very difficult.
In addition to the 6 team pods, there are two future pods that will be used for other functions, such as health, language, or special ed spaces until they are needed for teams. The community-use spaces, such as the gymnasium, auditorium, cafeteria, and library are at the front of the school, and can be isolated from the classroom areas for after-school use of the facility.
The school incorporates a wide range of “green” and high performance features, which will qualify it for an additional 3% state building aid under the “High Performance Schools” initiative. These features include a wood chip heating plant, low-flow plumbing fixtures, a high level of thermal insulation, a reflective roof surface, extensive daylighting, high-efficiency heat recovery mechanical units, energy efficient indirect lighting and an energy management system. A comprehensive waste recycling program was implemented during construction.
The site design includes a perimeter driveway around the building with separate dedicated drop-off areas for cars and busses. The design provides 300 new parking spaces, a track, two soccer fields and a softball field. There is also a separate storage building for maintenance equipment, athletic equipment, a concession area, and public toilets for after-hours sporting events.
A new 10,000 s.f. home for SAU #29 is part of the project, and will be located on the Middle School site. Building the SAU concurrent with the middle school results in an integrated site design and significant savings in construction costs. Adjacent to the SAU building is a new wood chip heating plant which will serve not only the new school and the SAU, but also the existing Daniels Elementary School, resulting in substantial energy cost savings over the years.