SMMA’s K-12 Studio dates back decades and maintains a portfolio of advanced educational environments serving elementary, middle, and high school students. This experience translates to a group of professionals with an abundance of intellectual capital working with clients and communities to produce innovative and effective designs for education in the 21st century.

Consensus Builders

Significantly, our staff—which includes an in-house educational planneris skilled at adapting this knowledge to the unique needs of each project and gaining consensus among administration, faculty, parents, and surrounding neighbors and community stakeholders. We achieve this through a comprehensive and transparent planning process, examining a range of options and opportunities.

Evidence-Based Thinking

We apply the latest thinking and research regarding collaborative, student-centered, and project-based learning spaces in our designs. SMMA's interdisciplinary firm structure brings together planners, architects, and engineers under a single roof and with a common purposemaximizing return on a municipality’s most important investment: its schools and the students and faculty who use them.

Bancroft Elementary School

Cohesiveness, Identity, and Safety

Nestled into one of Andover's more pastoral neighborhoods, the new Bancroft School replaces a one-beloved, but structurally failing, open-plan school from the 1960s. SMMA addressed myriad design challenges to provide a facility that accommodates a larger student population and minimizes encroachment onto environmentally sensitive portions of the property.

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Expert Opinion

Nurture Through Nature

Our K-12 Studio designs 21st century buildings aimed at helping students and teachers overcome educational barriers through learner-centric environments. Schools that supplement the built environment with spaces for outdoor learning promote the Four C’s of 21st century skills:  Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity.

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Design for Schools

Alex Pitkin


Principal | Senior Vice President | Director of Institutional Practice Studios

Alex leads SMMA's institutional practice and advises clients on planning, programming, and design strategy. With nearly 25 years of experience in the design of K-12 facilities at all grade levels, he is experienced in numerous new construction and renovation/restoration projects, and brings a wealth of experience to both higher education and commercial projects.

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Ayer Shirley Regional High School

Designing for a New District

The towns of Ayer and Shirley, on Massachusetts' northern border, faced precipitous student enrollment declines as a result of the closure of the Fort Devens military base a decade ago. The two towns came together to form a new district and share resources, and also to maintain a critical enrollment mass.

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School Design

Lorraine Finnegan


Principal | Vice President | Director of K-12 Studio | Project Manager

Lorraine heads SMMA's K-12 Studio, and is responsible for leading all K-12 educational projects for both public and private school clients. She is skilled in managing a variety of project and building types, and expert in assessing strategy issues, such as whether to renovate or build new.

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Greening the Classroom

Sustainability in Schools

With the diverse demands and complexity on K-12 projects, experience is a key component of successful project management. Experience is also a critical element to success in optimizing school designs for sustainability. Sustainable design is a core value for all of SMMA's K-12 projects, and we carry our organizational sustainability experience and knowledge from preliminary design all the way through post-construction occupancy.

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Philip Poinelli


Principal | Learning Environment Planner

Phil has over 40 years' experience in the programming, design, and execution of projects for education, science, and research. He offers strategic direction to clients on future options and opportunities for their schools, and is recognized as a national leader in the master-planning and programming of K-12 learning environments.

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Join Our Team!

We are always looking for talented, motivated individuals who thrive on collaboration and are passionate about design. If you think you'd be a good fit, we'd love to hear from you. Visit our Careers page to check out our open positions.

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