HMFH Architects

Arlington High School

Arlington, MA

The design of the new Arlington High School focuses on interdisciplinary learning, accessible community programs, and the town’s goal of a carbon-free future. Backed by an overwhelmingly positive town vote, the all-electric school replaces a sprawling, outdated facility with welcoming and flexible spaces for hands-on learning.

  • Grades 9-12
  • Students 1,755
  • Size 408,500 ft2

A central spine connects the new school’s tree-lined entrance on Massachusetts Avenue to the lower entrance, which serves the athletic fields, parking, and bikeway. Four wings—STEAM, humanities, performing arts, and athletics—plug into the spine and contain flexible classrooms, science labs, teacher planning areas, independent and project-based learning nooks, and maker and art spaces. As it moves through the building, the central spine serves as the lobby for each of the main public venues—the 800-seat auditorium, black box theater and gymnasiums—then becomes a “public” forum and informal social space as it cascades down into the cafeteria and lower entrance.


A variety of academic spaces maximize exploratory learning and cater to a wide range of learning styles. Classrooms are equipped with flexible furnishings and built-in cabinetry that doubles as whiteboard space to meet the needs of each lesson, while specialty classrooms offer unique learning opportunities that were not previously available.

The natural environment is woven into the learning environment through views, daylighting and access to the outdoors. A central courtyard and outdoor amphitheater connect students to the surrounding environment and provide opportunity for outdoor learning. Within the school, daylighting strategies reduce energy consumption and natural light is maximized through the use of multi-story lightwells, skylights, and floor-to-ceiling windows.


The new Arlington High School is constructed in phases to allow students to remain on the site throughout construction.

  • Phase 1 (open 2022): STEAM wing and Performing Arts wing
  • Phase 2 (opening 2023): Central spine, cafeteria, media center, Humanities wing and preschool
  • Phase 3 (opening 2024): Athletics wing
  • Phase 4 (opening 2025): Remaining site work
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