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newburyport high school

Newburyport High School is one of the oldest and most photographed schools in the country. Built in 1935, its old brick façade prominently overlooks the historic district of this seaside New England town. The school’s faculty and 740 students take pride in its long history, academic excellence, and supportive environment. After conducting a feasibility study of the entire Newburyport school system, OMR undertook the largest public works project in the city’s history to expand the program, reenergize space, and restore the architectural integrity of this beautiful building.

OMR’s design solution replaces a 1960’s nonintegrated section of the school with a 94,000-sf addition, which fluidly blends with a renovation of the existing 100,000 sf building. The new structure connects the original two wings to form a continuous circulation path around an open courtyard. Despite doubling in size, the new school is more compact, efficient, and wholly connected than before.

New facilities include administrative offices, cafeteria, locker rooms, gymnasium, classrooms, fitness center, and science labs. Renovations transformed the old gym into a bright new library/media technology center, created new offices, and updated all systems. Light wells, glass transoms, and skylights form a bright, open, and airy environment, while reducing the school’s artificial lighting costs. In line with federal historic preservation guidelines, metal and glass elements visually connect the existing and new structures. All woodwork, exterior windows, and doors match the original fixtures and are approved by the local historic commission. All building systems were replaced and all four floors were made fully accessible. Ramps were incorporated to provide handicapped access to the three front entry doors without altering the façade. Modifications to make the main entry accessible required approval of both the local historic commission and the Massachusetts Historic Commission.