King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex Becomes Second School in Country to Attain LEED v4 Schools Platinum Certification

King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex photo taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Robert Benson Photography.

The King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex is Cambridge’s first municipal building to attain LEED v4 Platinum Certification, and the second school in the country to achieve this recognition. The $159 million facility is also the only school currently in Massachusetts to have attained both Net Zero Emissions and LEED v4 Schools Platinum Certification.

The US Green Building Council, which administers the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification program, developed LEED v4 as the next generation standard for green building design, construction, operations, and performance. This version of the rating system includes a rigorous improvement in materials transparency, indoor environment, and occupant wellness.

The 273,000 square foot complex located at 850 Cambridge Street opened in September 2019 and houses the King Open School (JK-5), Cambridge Street Upper Schools (6-8), the Cambridge Public Schools Administration, King Open Preschool, King Open Extended Day (KOED), Community Schools, Gold Star Pools, and the Valente Library.

The facility incorporates many sustainable and energy efficient technologies, including the city’s largest solar array to renewably produce much of the energy needed to power it. The building is designed to use 44% less energy than a typical MA school. 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.

When designing this facility, the City of Cambridge and its architects, William Rawn Associates and Arrowstreet, embraced two key ideas: the importance of maintaining open space and Cambridge’s commitment to inclusion, community, and lifelong learning.
In an effort to support new ways of teaching and learning, science and technology labs are prominently located, and interactive displays about sustainability and net zero features are located throughout the complex.

Site amenities and open spaces at the complex 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.

“I am so very proud of the collaboration among city and school officials, the King Open team, and the design team who worked so hard to enable us to achieve this important recognition of LEED v4 Platinum Certification for the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex,” said Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale. “Increasing open space in this densely populated neighborhood and building a highly sustainable facility were important priorities for us throughout the planning process for this project.”

“We were honored to be part of the King Open Team and to have led the design team’s effort in the LEED Platinum certification for the building,” said Sindu Meier, AIA Senior Associate at William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc. “It sets a great precedent for new buildings in Cambridge and the region as we all strive to build increasingly sustainable communities.”

“It was a pleasure to work with Cambridge Public Schools and the city’s Department of Human Service Programs to achieve their mission toward an equitable and inclusive school environment,” said Kate Bubriski Director of Sustainability & Building Performance at Arrowstreet Inc. “This certification underscores the project’s focus on occupant wellness and the indoor environment.”

Page was posted on 2/16/2021 5:01 PM
Page was last modified on 2/16/2021 5:07 PM
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