Sited along bustling Route 1, and near the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, the new Saugus Middle High School supports forward-thinking education and celebrates the town’s rich history of innovation.
I think this is one of the proudest investments that the Town has made in my lifetime – it shows the values that the community wants to invest in our children and in our education.
- Grades 6-12
- Students 1,360
- Size 271,000 ft2
The new Saugus Middle High School brings together students in a STEAM-driven complex outfitted for exploratory learning and innovation. Students enter the building onto the “main street”, a central circulation route connecting public spaces within the school. This “street” serves as a link between the 750-seat auditorium, cafeteria, gym and Starbucks-style student cafe. Distinct middle and high school academic zones are separated by the shared, core spaces, while eighth and ninth graders share the same floor to ease the transition from middle into high school.
Grade-level classroom pods establish small learning communities where natural light floods in from monumental light wells. Each pod’s identity is reinforced by supergraphics honoring Saugus’ pioneering industries in ice, iron, and lobstering. Windows into the multi-story lightwell provide a visual connection between grade levels in order to foster a sense of shared space and experience.
The Town of Saugus has a proud history rich with industry, classic colonial architecture, and natural landscape. In creating a space for the next generation of students to learn and grow, the design of the new Saugus Middle High School recognizes the importance of celebrating past legacies. Historic influence is present throughout the school, from material choices to the organization of space. The building contains three primary places of learning or “pods,” each characterized by one of Saugus’ vital industries: iron, ice, and lobstering. By delving into the history of each industry, the team was able to take cues from the research to inform crucial design decisions such as color choices and materiality. Each pod contains a custom mural communicating the story of that industry through a graphic lens.
The high school project area is illuminated by a sweeping lightwell that pays homage to 1600’s ironwork technology. The overall form and means through which the shaft directs light draws inspiration from the Saugus Iron Works blast furnaces, therefore preserving remnants of contextual history in modern design.
Project areas function as flexible spaces for group collaboration, team teaching, and chance encounters between peers. Students in all grades have access to maker spaces and tech shops including a woodshop, broadcast studio, coding & web/graphic design lab, and 3D design & computer-aided design labs, allowing creativity and hands-on exploration to thrive. Specialty spaces such as these help facilitate the district’s goal to become top-rated, level 1 school district in Massachusetts.