Rochester Prep High School

Rochester, New York


Edge Architecture


Uncommon Schools/Rochester Prep


90,000 sq.ft.

Completion Date


Design team
Allen Rossignol, Ted Butcher, Isaac Bracher, Bridget Carney, Joe Twomey, Christina Fluman

Rochester Prep High School is a beacon of energy and determination, embodying its motto of “Change History.” Founded in 2006 as a charter school, it is dedicated to empowering students from low-income communities to succeed in college. Despite the city’s graduation rate of only 71%, Rochester Prep achieves a remarkable feat: 100% of its students not only graduate but also receive college acceptances. To accommodate its expanding student body, the school sought a larger facility and found an opportunity for urban revitalization in an impoverished neighborhood filled with abandoned homes. They purchased a building, originally a Catholic school constructed in 1928 with a 2016 addition.

The school envisioned a campus that honored the historical charm of the original brick building while enhancing functionality, accessibility, and internal circulation. This required addressing three crucial challenges: the entry, circulation, and organization of the space. The existing entry was elevated from street level, posing security and accessibility concerns. The solution was a modern glass entry featuring a vibrant three-story stairwell, beautifully connecting the old and the new. The transparent entry provides a welcoming and secure environment, embodying the school’s commitment to inclusivity.

The rhythmic exterior massing of the addition with the existing building now echoes the internal organization of the school. The undesirable maze-like corridors have been replaced by a thoughtfully planned circulation system that ensures efficiency, sight lines, and security. A main circulation hallway creates a clear path throughout the campus and promotes seamless movement.

The program layout was simplified and reorganized into distinct zones, including classrooms, administrative spaces, and multipurpose areas like the gym and cafeteria. Centralizing the school offices at the entry enhances accessibility and convenience. Learning spaces were transformed into modern, technologically advanced environments that foster creativity and productivity. Furthermore, a separate entry into the cafeteria and event spaces encourages community participation.

Since relocating to its new campus, Rochester Prep has witnessed positive changes in its surrounding community. Local police have reported a significant decrease in police calls in the area.

Additional Information

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