Model School, v2.0

Tewksbury Memorial High School
Tewksbury, Massachusetts

The Town of Tewksbury faced multiple challenges related to its high school. The existing building was full of leaks and riddled with asbestos; it was not conducive to use by the larger community after school hours; and the school committee was concerned that its configuration was not suited to easing the transition from middle to high school, or to the latest thinking in interactive, engaged learning.

For SMMA, the new 218,781-square-foot Tewksbury Memorial High School represented an opportunity to update the award-winning and highly successful design of our Hudson High School project, delivering a "model school" for the Town of Tewksbury.

The new facility is divided into three principal areas: the health and physical education wing; the commons/auditorium/administrative/library area; and two stacked classrooms/instructional pods. The school’s main entry is clearly expressed as a glazed pavilion leading immediately into the crescent-shaped commons area, which acts as a hinge to link the various wings together. The health and physical education wing and commons/auditorium area are positioned so that after-school sports contests and other community-related events can take place while the classroom areas are secured.

Students in new lab at Tewksbury High School

Growing in Pods

The new academic pods are organized around highly flexible large group instruction rooms (LGIs), and have been designed to facilitate the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) programs. Engineering, digital media, physics, and robotics are on the ground floor, while upper levels connect mathematics, biology/chemistry, and earth sciences. Other pods facilitate the interactions of the humanities. LGIs are capable of accommodating up to 150 seats for lectures, seminars, science fairs, art gallery displays, and long-term student projects.

Much More Than a Cafeteria

The first-floor dining commons acts as a centralizing element that serves the student body and faculty throughout the day. Located adjacent to the main entrance, the commons provides both pre- and post-function space for the auditorium and gymnasium, serving both school and community events.

Our new High School speaks to the value the Tewksbury community places on education. Now, along with an outstanding faculty, the children in Tewksbury have an incredible learning environment.

Dr. Patricia A. Lally, Assistant Superintendent

  • Pep rally at Tewkbury High School's new gym

Where Learning Happens

The second-floor library/media center serves as the school’s intellectual heart, and the freshman “academy” creates a smaller learning community to assist students transitioning from middle school to high school. Also, an onsite alternative education program provides a safe haven for students dealing with severe social and emotional issues.

Putting Things in Place

In terms of its physical location, the Tewksbury Memorial High School site is highly constrained, surrounded by wetland resources and sensitive residential neighborhoods nearby. SMMA worked closely with the Town to develop the site to support school functions and blend seamlessly into the fabric of Tewksbury. We aimed to achieve an outcome that was functional, not flashy; progressive, not garish. Ultimately, we sought to deliver a facility capable of accommodating and delivering high-quality educations to numerous generations of Tewksbury residents to come.

SMMA site plan for Tewksbury High School