The Roebling School is being constructed with court-mandated funding for New Jersey’s most neglected school districts. The district needed a new school to accommodate smaller class sizes and projected enrollment increases. Instead of building a completely new school, the city and district agreed to use a 94,000-square-foot brick-and-steel industrial building in the CAPACITY620COST PER SQ FT$150.00FEATURED IN2001 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYWork in Progress complex.
The design balances the needs of the district with the physical realities of the existing building. The vast expanses of glazing around the perimeter of the building have been reserved for classroom spaces, while service elements are placed in the central core. Tightly spaced mushroom columns are located in the first-floor hallways, classrooms and cafeteria. Impressive steel trusses and skylights are exposed in the media center and corridors on the second floor. The entry and gymnasium additions incorporate inverted rooms, common in industrial buildings built in the early 1900s.
The main entry was intended to be a transparent glass box that heralds both the presence of the school on the street and the primary entry into the school. The gymnasium’s design includes clerestory windows below the inverted roof, exposed structure and a huge sliding door to open the gymnasium into the adjacent playground.