The New Wetherbee School

Lawrence, Massachusetts

The K-8 Wetherbee School is built on a small site in an urban residential neighborhood. Although the existing building was not on the historic register, the local historical commission felt its preservation was important to the city of Lawrence, so the architect searched for ways to save the structure. It was not economically viable to renovate the entire building, but ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY750COST PER SQ FT$169.09FEATURED IN2004 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYSpecialized resulting plan was able to save the facade while building an entirely new school within and behind it.

The final project includes three original exterior walls and adds new construction. Antique elements were salvaged, restored and reused in creative ways. For example, the brackets now are used as lighting fixtures in the auditorium lobby.

Because an elementary and middle school share one building, the design sought ways to provide separation of space and distinct identities for each group. The two “schools” are separated by floor with separate entrances, sharing core facilities such as the gym, library/media center, cafeteria and a 350-seat auditorium. Most of the building has wireless technology.