AIA NH Honors HMFH’s Dover High School & Career Tech Center for Excellence in Design
Dover High School & Regional Career Technical Center earned a 2021 Merit Award for Excellence in Architectural Design from AIA New Hampshire. The annual Design Awards recognize exceptional projects that exemplify the value of good design in creating livable communities and safe, valuable, and sustainable buildings.
The new Dover High School & Regional Career Technical Center replaces two previously separate schools with a singular, state-of-the-art facility that promotes hands-on, project-based learning and integrated education based on equity, community, and flexibility. Carefully considered to maximize educational benefits, the school’s layout creates visual transparencies and strategic program adjacencies to foster collaboration across disciplines and showcase Dover’s unique educational model, which offers students the resources they need to become independent, critical thinkers. Along with classrooms and specialized learning spaces, each academic wing includes its own Learning Commons for students to engage in small group or independent study.
The heart of the school is the Town Square, a collection of shared and public-facing spaces that serve not only students and teachers but the surrounding community, who can access numerous career technical services from culinary arts to cosmetology, as well as the school’s dining, recreation and public meeting spaces. Multi-story glazing and the adjacent courtyard dramatically capture daylight and activate the Town Square, creating a lively and engaging environment representative of the school’s collaborative culture and strong sense of community.
Connections to the outdoors and natural environment are nurtured both through the expansive courtyard at the center of the school as well as the outdoor workyards where students in career tech programs can engage in large-scale, project-based work. With its amphitheater, outdoor classrooms, and a dry riverbed that acts as a rain garden during storms, the courtyard serves as an extension of the school’s learning environment, while also creating an outdoor retreat that fosters community and supports student’s social and emotional wellbeing.
In addition to its abundant natural daylighting, energy conservation and the ecology of the courtyard, the new building demonstrates a commitment to environmental and climate responsibility by supporting a rooftop photovoltaic array; the 2,581 solar panels now in operation offset approximately 40% of the school’s electric consumption, the equivalent of 558 tons of carbon pollution annually. The array adds to the solar capacity of New Hampshire by 1.5%.