Clark Avenue Middle School

Faced with an expanding student population and deteriorating conditions in a century-old building, the City of Chelsea elected to replace the existing Clark Avenue School with a new facility to provide a contemporary education and support community activities.


Chelsea, MA


115,000 sf


5 – 8




1.4 acres


LEED Silver

Energy Use Reduction

19% from baseline code

“The project required a tremendous amount of coordination and collaboration. It was both challenging and exciting to be a part of this process. Our new school now provides all the resources and technological capabilities our students need to excel.”

Mary Bourque | Former Superintendent, Chelsea Public Schools

Situated on a tight urban site, the Clark Avenue Middle School was carefully planned and constructed in two phases while the existing school remained in operation, just nine feet from the new construction.

Organized to support the diverse needs of its students, each floor of the Clark Ave School is designed with multiple small group rooms located between classrooms where students can receive individual support while remaining close to their class. As the drama-focused feeder school to Chelsea High School, the organization further supports and showcases student performances with venues that host performances both large and small. The library, auditorium/gymnasium, and other specialty and classroom spaces also serve the community after school hours, hosting a range of activities including adult education courses.

“Like many of the State’s Gateway Cities, we are in the midst of a rebirth, and with the opening of the new Clark Avenue Middle School, we are poised to achieve educational excellence. “

Thomas G. Ambrosino | Former City Manager, City of Chelsea

While the former school lacked outdoor space for casual interaction between students, forcing them to congregate on narrow sidewalks, the new building has a more compact footprint. The design introduces student gardens as well as an outdoor courtyard at the entry, with tiered seating for student performances, community movie nights, and space for students to gather and socialize before and after school.

  • Outstanding Project, Learning By Design Spring Educational Facilities Design Awards, 2019
  • Honor Award, AGC MA Build New England, 2019
  • Photography, Ed Wonsek