There are other core spaces as well. Toward the back of the school there’s a large gym with an elevated running track and two basketball courts.
Built into the side of a slope, the building looks like a two-story building in the front, but is a three-story building at the back. Setting the building into the hill allowed Guarriello to create high bay classroom spaces that are necessary to teach trades like plumbing or electrical wiring, which often have students working on multistory buildings.
Each academy is clustered around a central dining area lit by a soaring wall of glass and steel. The dining areas will have movable seating so they can be used for group learning when it’s not lunchtime. In each academy, classrooms are clustered around a central hallway that will also be used as learning spaces. Guarriello said the goal was to use as much of the space for learning as possible.
“The design of the school really stemmed from the programs and their needs,” said Guarriello, “and then we developed the overall layout based on the needs of the teachers and also the students within the program.”
Essex Tech involves the merger of North Shore Tech in Middleton, Essex Aggie and Peabody High School’s vocational programs. Both state and local funding, from the 17 member school districts, is paying for it.
The project not only involves the construction of the large school building, but another dozen buildings in what is really the creation of a campus. It will include a sports stadium with a turf field and running track, a new large animal barn, a separate automotive repair building and other amenities.
And it will also be certifiably “green” — with a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certificate, thanks to high-efficiency boilers, conservation measures and even a green roof.