Proposed Spaces within the Future AHS


This blog is the third in a three-part series summarizing essential materials developed during the Feasibility Study. The series includes:

  1. Creating the Educational Vision
  2. Educational Program Summary
  3. Proposed Spaces within the Future AHS

These materials were developed in response to the following core questions that will guide the design: What is important to AHS? Where is AHS now, and where does it want to go? What spaces does AHS need to fulfill its vision? AHS faculty, district administration and community members have been working over the past year and more to create these materials, which were included in the Preliminary Design Program submitted to the MSBA in April 2018.

Summary of Proposed Spaces within the Future AHS

This post provides a breakdown of the present High School spaces and proposed spaces for the future facility answering the question “What spaces does AHS need to fulfill its vision?”     

The current Arlington High School facility is approximately 392,000 gross sf (square feet) on multiple levels with an inefficient amount of hallways and stairwells. The school currently accommodates 1,350 students in grades nine through twelve. The approved MSBA design enrollment for a new/renovated school is for 1,755 students .  The proposed gross square footage for the more efficiently laid out future facility is 415,000 square feet.  

Note:  All proposed spaces mentioned in this post were included in the Initial Space Summary in the Preliminary Design Program submitted to the MSBA and are subject to change as the AHS Building Project progresses.  

Core Academic Spaces

Current Proposed
47 classrooms
31 of the 47 classrooms are below MSBA minimum 825 sf guidelines, some as small as 600 sf.  
60 classrooms
54 at 850 sf and 6 at 950 sf.
12 Science classrooms
11 of 12 are under MSBA minimum sf guidelines (the average is 950 sf), with obstructed views, inadequate lab, prep spaces and sinks, and lacking operational fume hoods.
17 Science classrooms
1,440 sf modern classrooms/labs with individual prep spaces.
Inadequate numbers of classrooms has created overcrowding and pushes some class sizes to 28-30 students. 4 group seminar rooms (500 sf each) distributed between Humanities and STEAM add scheduling flexibility as alternatives for smaller classes, freeing up larger classroom spaces.
Teacher planning spaces are inadequate and varied across the facility. Teacher planning spaces co-located within departments.


Special Education

Current Proposed
LABBB, REACH, Summit, Short Stop, Harbor, Workplace, & Millbrook programs occupy inadequate spaces both on and off-campus. Programmed spaces to serve all special education programs, including relocation of off-site programs (Millbrook) into the building.
Inadequate space to add the Compass program at high school level (currently only serves elementary and middle school). Space to accommodate high school level Compass programming.
Menotomy Preschool, serving 92 students, is located in two distinct areas, lacking secure lobby/drop-off location and indoor playspace. Menotomy Preschool with room for growth, segregated and secure entry, age-appropriate interior and exterior playspace.
Limited academic support spaces in select locations. Academic support spaces will be increased in number and distributed in classroom wings, also providing increased options for separate testing spaces.

Art, Music, & Drama

Current Proposed
4 visual art classrooms
Grossly undersized (~900 sf) and overcrowded.
4 visual art classrooms
1,200 sf (per MSBA guidelines) with appropriate support, storage and kiln space.
3 performing art classrooms
Chorus (80+ students), Band (115+ students), and Performing Arts.  Only one classroom located convenient to the auditorium, and all lacking adequate space and acoustical qualities.
3 performing art classrooms
Chorus, Band, and Performing Arts –  appropriately sized for growing programs, with proper acoustics, located near the auditorium, including integral instrument storage.
900 seat Auditorium
No flyspace, poor acoustics and accessibility.
900 seat Auditorium
Acoustically designed, fully accessible, flyspace over stage, greenroom.
Little Theater

Classroom with folding chairs and small stage.  Lacks flexibility to serve multiple needs.

Black Box Theater

3,000 sf  “black box” theater space that maximizes flexible use by all arts programs.

Vocations & Technology

Current Proposed
1 Makerspace
2 wood shops and a former auto shop have been repurposed as fabrication/makerspaces including engineering, woodshop, and a project area.These spaces have been retrofitted to house equipment such as laser cutters and 3D printers.
Multiple Makerspaces
Large centralized as well as smaller distributed Makerspaces with integrated technological infrastructure.Smart Center/Clean Lab to consolidate various high end equipment.Central Makerspace ideally located near the Library Learning Commons.
5 distinct computer related programs with inadequate space for growth. Flexible, properly sized computer lab spaces to accommodate growing programs.
Despite an active catalog of culinary and early childhood programs, classrooms and infrastructure are dated and undersized. Updated spaces for growing culinary arts and early childhood education programs.
Non-dedicated, distributed, inadequate and over scheduled spaces for group programs, debates and training. Discourse laboratory

Addition of a 120 seat lecture classroom for shared teaching and small group programs, debates, or trainings.

Physical Education & Health

Current Proposed
12,740 sf gymnasium (Red/Tozzer)
Bleacher seating for 1,500.  Poor acoustics limits use to one class at a time.
16,000 sf gymnasium
Seating for 1,800.Multiple court layouts and sound proofing allow simultaneous classes.Jogging track at perimeter, climbing wall.
6,910 sf gymnasium (Blue)

3,030 sf gymnasium (Pit)

Fitness Center (weight room)

2 Additional PE spaces totaling 10,000 sf, one of which is Fitness Center.

Library Learning Commons

Current Proposed
Large group area serving approximately 100 students with projector/screen. Large central space with moveable furniture and shelving can serve up to 450 students.
Private glass-enclosed room for small groups up to 12. Multiple, private conference areas for quiet working groups.
Library Workroom also serves as Resource Room, Librarian Office, and Teacher Breakroom. Workroom and office spaces to support librarian and teacher needs.


Current Proposed
Cafeteria seating for 375 students with poor sightlines and acoustics.  

Each lunch currently services 450 students.

Cafeteria seating for ~600 students.
Poor external delivery access to kitchen. Kitchen with direct delivery access and better service layout.
Inadequate nursing space. Space for 2 Nurses as population/needs grow, including quiet room..
Space for Principal, Asst. Principal, and 3 House Deans. Space for Principal, Asst. Principal and 4 House Deans.
Guidance Offices Guidance Offices and Career Center
District Administrative Offices, Community Education Offices, Town-wide Information Technology Services, Town Facilities Department, Town Comptroller, and Town Payroll offices. Where these resources are housed in the future is not yet determined.

Currently, there is limited alternative space in Town for these departments.

Despite the shortcomings of the current campus, Arlington High School is a thriving school with extensive programs, courses, and resources.  With a new facility that offers modern, flexible and properly sized classrooms and support spaces, Arlington High School will be ready to meet the needs and expectations of 21st century teaching and learning.

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