The Fessenden School, Classroom Addition

West Newton, Massachusetts

  • FIRM

    Tsoi/Kobus & Associates


    The Fessenden School

  • AREA

    30,000 sq.ft.





The Fessenden School is a private school for boys in grades K-9. In 1996, the school engaged an architect/planner to prepare a master plan for the campus. This master plan identified an urgent need to replace nearly all of the school’s outdated and overcrowded classrooms. A program was developed for a new classroom building that would serve the lower, middle and upper ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$150.00FEATURED IN2000 Educational Interiors and form a new entrance for the entire campus.

The new classroom addition blends the latest technologies for future teaching challenges with the time-honored campus tradition of intimate, warm and comfortable spaces. The architecture of the addition complements the small-scaled stucco buildings and echoes open spaces that characterize the Fessenden campus. Two new two-story wings, which feature pitched roofs, asymmetrical facades, small dormers and stucco cladding, frame an entry that welcomes students, faculty and visitors, and creates a new grand entrance for the school.

The addition strengthens connections and provides direct, indoor circulation among academic, sports and performance facilities. From the central lobby—a hub of activity with comfortable furniture—portals lead to the lower and middle schools, and a communicating stair accesses the upper school above.

Twenty-four classrooms are provided for the lower, middle and upper schools. Expansive windows afford views to adjacent courtyards and play areas and provide natural light. The natural light is supplemented with subtle uplighting, creating a gently lighted, noninstitutional learning environment.

In all classrooms, each larger than its predecessor, flexible furniture allows multiple configurations for various activities. All classrooms are wired for computers, networked and linked to the Internet. Audiovisual capabilities, cubbies for every student, and whiteboard and tackboard space also are provided.

Upgrades around the campus accompany the addition. A new pickup and dropoff area for parents alleviates vehicular congestion at the front door, and a new swimming pool is located near the locker rooms and gym. The playing fields and surrounding areas remain intact. Long-term plans envision additional tennis courts, improved truck-loading areas, enhanced landscaping and provision of handicapped access to all buildings.

Photographer: ©Steve Rosenthal