Perkins Eastman | Essex Technical High School

Essex Technical High School

Hathorne, Massachusetts
Essex Technical High School is a combination of County Agricultural School and a regional vocational technical high school. The mission of this 1,440 -student high school is to prepare students from 17 area communities for the demands of college and 21st-century careers. The 13-building, 379,000 sf campus, set on a 165-acre site, is the only one in the state to offer agricultural and vocational education in one facility.

Because it combines two schools, it was important to engage in a visioning process that helped to define values and vest the stakeholders of the existing programs in the new school. As a result of this process, we created an environment that supported learning throughout the entire facility at all times, achieved by dividing the student population into four different academies, organized vertically and connected horizontally by community spaces including dining. The academic classrooms are clustered around a flexible learning area which is an extension of the corridor and allows students to gather in small groups for project-based learning or group study. To support collaboration and teamwork, adjacent classrooms and science labs all feed into this flexible space, with an adjacent teacher workroom for passive supervision. Each academy has its own entrance and administration suite, in addition to the overall main entrance that also provides public access to the many retail facilities offered by the school’s vocational programs—including restaurant, bakery, hair salon, and print shop.  

The main building is positioned strategically on the site’s former hayfield and provides a north-south orientation that maximizes daylight into classrooms. Other sustainability measures that contribute to the school’s LEED Silver target include a high-performing building envelope, efficient mechanical system, waterless plumbing fixtures, green roof, and 60,000 gpm water reclamation system.
Learning By Design, Annual Design Showcase, Honorable Mention (2016)
Construction Management Association of America, New England Chapter, Building – New Construction Project of the Year Award (Projects Less than $200 Million) (2015)