King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School & Community Complex Opening Celebration & Tour October 26, 2019

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The Cambridge community is cordially invited to the opening celebration and tour of the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., 840 Cambridge St.  The 273,000 square foot facility opened in September 2019 and houses the King Open School (JK-5), Cambridge Street Upper School (6-8), Cambridge Public Schools Administration Offices, King Open Preschool, King Open Extended Day (KOED), Community Schools, Gold Star Pool, and the Valente Library.  Although the Valente Library will be open for tours during the Oct. 26 event, it is officially scheduled to open to the public on Nov. 4.

Site amenities and open spaces at the new facility include two gyms, two basketball courts, the Charles Rossi Bocce Court, five playgrounds, an outdoor splash pad, Cambridge Street Plaza, Valente Reading Garden, a central courtyard/Outdoor Classroom, and a 380-seat auditorium.  Additionally, there are two drop off curbs on Cambridge Street for school buses and other transportation, a raised intersection for safer crossing, a separated bike lane, and a new Bluebikes Station.

“I am proud of the collaboration and partnership between the Mayor, the City Council, the city administration and departments, the School Department, and the School Committee in making sure we are supporting all our students,” said City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “I especially want to thank the residents of the surrounding neighborhood and area businesses for their patience throughout this construction process and invite them to tour the new school and community complex during our opening celebration.”

City and School leaders made the strategic decision to house the parking in an underground garage.  This decision, in conjunction with efforts by the architects to preserve open space resulted in close to an acre increase of green space and almost two acres of open space overall.

“Increasing open space in this densely populated neighborhood and building a highly sustainable facility were important priorities,” said Deputy City Manager Lisa Peterson who served as project manager for the new school and community complex. “In the end, this building is about significant civic infrastructure, and most importantly, about the people who use it.”

The $159 million complex was designed by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. in association with Arrowstreet Architecture and Design.

“We were inspired by the incredible history and neighborhood importance over time of Cambridge Field. We created a civic plaza along Cambridge Street with views through to Donnelly Field as well as gave great prominence to the new Valente Library,” said Clifford Gayley and Samuel Lasky, Principals at William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc., executive architect for the project.

“Our goal was to design the building to support the City’s Innovation Agenda for 21st century learning while maintaining the unique culture and heritage of both schools. The energy efficient building is a learning lab for the schools and a critical step in helping Cambridge realize its future as a net zero emissions community,” said Laurence Spang, Principal and Kate Bubriski, Director of Sustainability & Building Performance, Arrowstreet Architecture & Design, associate architect for the project.

The project is notably designed to be the first Net Zero Emissions school in Massachusetts, incorporating many sustainable and energy efficient technologies: 
  • The building is designed to use 44% less energy than a typical MA school;
  • The future occupants were engaged in the energy planning to ensure programmatic needs were in sync with the energy goals and ultimately lead to a building performing as designed.
  • Nearly 3,600 photovoltaic panels on the building will produce renewable energy to the building’s energy use. 
  • Occupant comfort and health are also incorporated into the design through daylighting, material selections, indoor air quality, and physical and visual connections with the outdoors.The building will be Net Zero Emissions upon the future purchase of 100% green electricity.
Additionally, the design of the school will support new ways of teaching and learning: 
  • Science and technology labs are prominently located.
  • Interactive displays about sustainability and net zero features are located throughout the complex.
  • The Learning Commons transforms a traditional school library into a multi-purpose, multi-media learning hub with maker space, group learning areas and individualized reading nooks.
"This campus exemplifies the integration we strive for between our public schools and our community,” said Superintendent of Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) Dr. Kenneth Salim.  “The new King Open and Cambridge Street Upper School are now physically connected to the best that Cambridge has to offer, in terms of libraries, youth programs, green space, and recreation.  It is an exciting time for the CPS community." 

To learn more, see the feature edition on the new community and school complex in The Cambridge Life Fall 2019.

Photo by Robert Benson Photography

Page was posted on 10/15/2019 1:01 PM
Page was last modified on 10/15/2019 1:10 PM
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