Chapman Middle School

Designed to embrace hands-on, inclusive, and interdisciplinary learning, the new Chapman Middle School replaces two middle schools with a 1,470-student facility that provides equitable, elevated education and resources for the entire town.

Location

Weymouth, MA

Size

252,000 sf

Grades

6 – 8

Students

1,470

Certification

LEED Gold

Energy Use Reduction

52% from baseline code

“We wanted all of our kids to have a single shared experience of educational excellence. The building we stand in today is a manifestation of all those dreams.”

John Sullivan | Former Chair, Weymouth School Committee

A driving force behind the project was to foster student well-being and provide an equitable education for all. As the largest middle school in Massachusetts, the facility ensures each student’s social, emotional, and academic needs are met by establishing small learning communities within the greater school where students feel welcome and supported. From the layout to graphics and color selection, every piece of the school is designed to promote a sense of belonging and foster a small-school atmosphere.

The Town Square is a light-filled, double-height gathering space for dining and community use. Three academic wings radiate off this central space, each marked by a distinct tower-like structure—or ‘pod’—at its entrance. The pods’ expressive architectural form shapes the organic layout of the Town Square, while their wood, metal, and acrylic panel cladding reference materials significant to Weymouth history, strengthening the school’s connection to the community. After school hours, the Town Square can be easily reconfigured to host meetings, presentations and more.

As a feeder for Weymouth High School and its robust career technical education (CTE) programs, the new grade 6-8 school’s curriculum and layout are centered around its unique “exploratories”—elective tracks that focus on modern, STEAM-driven paths in CTE, ranging from robotics and fabrication to culinary arts and broadcast media. These programs are housed in the three pods surrounding the Town Square, with specialized lab spaces to support this exploration.

“Learning in the building is very visible. . . When you’re in the Town Square you can’t help but see all of those special spaces where students are engaged in learning.”

Matthew Meehan | Director of Educational Facilities Planning, Weymouth, MA

Neighborhood Identities

To break down the scale of this large school, academic wings are organized by grade level and further separated into neighborhoods—a cluster of classroom teams surrounding support spaces. Each wing converges on a collaborative presentation area with easy access to an outdoor classroom for special lessons or messy project work.

The neighborhood structure provides a “home-base” for students and ensures their needs are met with expanded resources, focused attention, and supervision. Vibrant supergraphics in each wing reinforce concepts of diversity, empathy, and inclusion, and are supplemented by distinct color schemes for each neighborhood that assist with wayfinding and promote a sense of belonging.

Space for All

The design of the new Chapman Middle School invites community use. The Town Square is utilized for meetings before and after school; a state-of-the-art, 850-seat auditorium serves the middle school’s active drama program as well as high school and community theater groups; a renovated gymnasium, half-mile fitness loop, and play areas are all available for use by Weymouth community members.

Awards/Credits
  • Kirkbride Award, Association for Learning Environments Northeast Region, 2024
  • Grand Prize, Learning By Design Spring Educational Facilities Design Awards, 2023
  • K-12 Merit Award, ENR New England Regional Best Projects, 2023
  • Individual Project Award, CMAA New England Project Excellence Awards, 2023
  • Photography, Ed Wonsek
  • Videography, Peter VonDeLinde