John W. McDevitt Middle School

Waltham, Massachusetts

  • FIRM

    Flansburgh Architects


    Waltham Public Schools

  • AREA

    149,000 sq.ft.





Considered as one of the “top 10 most endangered” buildings in the state, this aging landmark had been boarded up for more than 10 years and slated for demolition. The design team developed a cost-effective rehabilitation plan that integrated a 21st-century educational curriculum, modern technology and energy-efficient elements.

Restoring the 100-year-old structure ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY708COST PER SQ FT$134.00FEATURED IN2005 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation its original civic stature, the school system demolished two 1920s wings and built an 80,000-square-foot addition. The new wing houses the administration, a 450-seat auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria and 36 additional classrooms. A three-story glass atrium serves as the new main entrance and separates academic functions from community spaces.

Preservation components included converting the old auditorium into a high-tech media center; restoring skylights and coffer ceiling; and reinstalling original plaster-cast neoclassical friezes, hand-painted murals, and oak and pine wainscot and door trim.

Exterior rehabilitation focused on masonry re-pointing and repair; replacing the original windows; and re-creating the copper gutters, downspouts and decorative roof finials.