Thompson Middle School

Newport, Rhode Island

  • FIRM

    HMFH Architects


    Newport Public Schools

  • AREA

    114,000 sq.ft.





Thompson Middle School, on the same site as its predecessor, is an artful combination of preservation and new construction. Voters clearly wanted the school to remain downtown as a vital piece of Newport’s Broadway streetscape, but parents and educators adamantly requested a new facility. The solution reuses the oldest and most significant building, and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY720COST PER SQ FT$133.00CITATIONWilliam W. Caudill CitationFEATURED IN2003 Architectural Portfolio it into a new building that maximizes the tight, 1.8-acre site and provides modern instructional space.

Designed to enhance and support a team-centered middle-school curriculum, the academic wing accommodates three 80-student clusters per grade. Each pair of classrooms shares an operable partition that allows for team-wide meetings. In addition, specialized instructional spaces such as art, music, tech ed and foreign language round out each floor.

A two-story entry lobby links old and new along Broadway, where public spaces for athletics and performances form the new facade. The upper floors of the preserved Townsend building house a 21st-century library and technology center in a 19th-century space, and the ground floor houses administration. A human-services mall, a feature of this downtown school, is situated off the lobby.


"Great coordination between old and new spaces. Excellent use of interior materials. Outside light is introduced where it did not exist before. Programmatic strength with provision of spaces for small-group/project work."--2003 jury