John Trumbull Primary School

Watertown, Connecticut

  • FIRM

    Fletcher-Thompson, Inc.


    Watertown Public Schools

  • AREA

    121,000 sq.ft.





When the Watertown district decided to bring together pre-K through second-grade students in a single new facility, the architect faced the challenge of designing an extraordinarily large primary school whose size would not overwhelm young children.

At John Trumbull Primary School, this challenge is met in several ways: a school-within-a-school layout that gives the ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY980COST PER SQ FT$154.75FEATURED IN2001 Architectural Portfolio staff and the children a manageable environment while providing them with continuity through the early school years; a bold, easily comprehensible way-finding scheme that identifies each cluster with a specific primary color and geometric shape; and an axial organization, with a main street that links clusters and shared areas.

The building, used frequently by community groups, has “public” and “academic” sides, with separate entrances for students and the community. Academic spaces are child-scaled; the public side mixes child- and adult-scaled components. Security is enhanced by placing the bus-queuing area directly outside the academic area’s entrance and by cradling outdoor play areas within three-sided courtyards on either side of the main street.