Newtown High School Addition
The project team included Fletcher Thompson Architecture and construction management by The Morganti Group, Inc. The original high school was built 45 years ago on twelve acres of rural terrain. To accommodate expanding needs, a 73,000 square foot addition was built. It captured my attention as a polished new jewel might. After leaving my car, I noticed a petite greenhouse (400 square foot) below the entrance to the updated athletic fields. The front elevation of this three-story addition is mostly made of a modern glass curtain wall and a restrained use of fawn colored brick. The sparkling glass façade reflected the stunning blue sky and the school’s natural forest setting. It features three tiers of linear metal sunshades that bring interest, help control glare, and maximize natural light.
The new kettle black asphalt led me to the new lobby entrance and a three-story stairwell that attaches the existing building to the new structure. Together with the glass enclosed pedestrian bridge on the upper level, they provide smoother student flow between the new spaces and the old. I took the stairs up past a collection of modern layered glass pendants suspended from the ceiling and found a built in trophy case that followed the curve of the wall. The cobalt blue lights were not turned on and the trophies had not been curated yet. Opposite it, through the glass separation, I spotted colorful student artwork in the airy new art studio space. Continuing on, I was met with cheers as basketball practice commenced in the 15,000 square foot renovated gymnasium. I learned that the old roof was removed and new curved trusses were installed to create a taller ceiling to meet state tournament standards.
Subsequently I visited the new Cafetorium (cafeteria and auditorium) designed as a multi-use space for meals, seminars, musical and theatrical performances. Unfortunately the space was not ready to photograph. Nearby is the spacious teaching kitchen for culinary students and the gemstone of the art culinary arts program.
The expansion added a new wing with new classrooms, administration space, improvements to the infrastructure, and science labs. Labs include laboratory enclosure for handling chemicals and classrooms have full windows with manual shades to diffuse the light. New mechanical equipment, installed on the addition’s roof, had a resemblance to something from NASA. It is also the perfect place to spot enhancements to the numerous athletic fields and the mellow curve of the new gymnasium roof.