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Dennis-Yarmouth Intermediate/Middle School

Yarmouth, MA

Regional school district unifies around guiding principles to create a school reflective of their distinct communities.

The new, $110 million, Dennis-Yarmouth Intermediate/Middle School is located in South Yarmouth, MA, and serves approximately 950 students and more than 100 teachers and staff.  It features two double-story classroom wings at the north end of the site, with sunny light courts in the outdoor spaces formed by the separation and orientation of the classroom wings. The common areas—auditorium, cafeteria, gym, media center, and arts programs—are situated on the south near the main entry, and organized around a central commons space. The elegant, 850-seat auditorium will be open to the general public from around the school district for special events such as community meetings and community theater.

The new school replaces two separate older schools—the Mattacheese Middle School in West Yarmouth (the regional 6th and 7th grade program) and the Nathaniel H. Wixon Innovation School in South Dennis (for grades 4 and 5).  The new Intermediate/Middle School is designed to preserve some spatial separation of the two pre-existing schools by having two separate entries and locating the 6th and 7th grades on the upper level and the 4th and 5th grades downstairs.

The project broke ground in April, 2021, and was completed in February of the next year, coming in at a full million dollars under the original budget. The fortuity of a favorable bidding environment allowed for substantial scope augmentation during construction, including the addition of two new artificial turf athletic fields with all-new field lighting.

The Dennis-Yarmouth district includes an exceptionally high percentage of special-needs students, including those with physical disabilities. Our brief was to not only make the building universally accessible, as required by law, but also to design an environment that promotes universal access to learning, with a number of specialized teaching spaces that accommodate students’ myriad learning styles and needs with an overall aesthetic atmosphere that is welcoming and soothing for everyone. The approach includes details such as minimizing harsh angles in favor of curving lines and volumes. Another aesthetic emphasis—particularly prominent in the well-considered graphic design—was biophilia, which emphasizes the natural contours and biology of the terrain across Cape Cod and greater New England.