Franklin School, Multipurpose Room Addition

Kearny, New Jersey

The Kearny Board of Education, faced with increased enrollment, wanted to improve facilities in one of the district’s larger schools.

Franklin School is a sprawling K-8 school that steps down a 30-foot hillside. It was constructed in the early 1960s and did not have adequate multipurpose space for physical education and for serving lunch. The new multipurpose room ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMRobert Silman Associates; Roxbury Engineering Associates; MKW & AssociatesCOST PER SQ FT$160.00FEATURED IN2006 Educational Interiors2006 Architectural Portfolio these issues and also greatly improved circulation by connecting the school’s kindergarten, and its north and south wings.

Design challenges:

•Provide barrier-free access with a change in grade of 5 feet from the north to the south side.

•Resolve the school’s complicated geometry.

•Improve circulation.

•Organize hallways, but avoid the impression of long corridors.

•Provide interiors that relate to the original school’s colors and abstract patterns.

•Create an interior in the multipurpose room that suits its function, is easily maintained, and is open and inviting.

The design works with existing geometries, vocabulary and the sloping site to create interesting forms and spaces. North and south halls serve as organizing elements for offset hallways and enable the addition to connect distant parts of the existing school. Large windows and pendant light fixtures establish rhythm in the hallways. Ramps and a lift provide barrier-free access.