Caleb Dustin Hunking K-8
Personalization; Intellectual Engagement; School as Community; Life-Long Learning; Collaboration and Cooperation; and Evolution.
1005 student K-8. New construction, three-story, 84,000 SF, completed 2016.
Clusters of Learning with Shared Flex Spaces, Upper and Lower School Gateways, Combined Cafeteria and Gymnatorium Spaces, Venues for Display and Exhibition, Differentiated Classrooms, Distributed Adults/Administrative Offices, and Historical References and Storytelling.
Located in a historic community set along the Merrimack River, this new K-8 public school ingeniously utilizes a blend of colors, materials, display graphics and water features to create an intimate and playful learning environment that also teaches children about their town’s history.
When the town of Haverhill, MA, decided to replace their structurally unsound middle school in 2012, they received funding for an MSBA (Mass School Building Authority) Feasibility that resulted in the design of a new K-8 building on the same long and narrow site. Many priorities were established, including breaking down the scale of the 1,000-student school to make it more child-friendly, establishing separate but connected zones for the lower and middle school students, designing exterior character and scale to fit within the neighborhood context, and providing an agile and adaptable educational environment.
The school’s exterior is simply detailed to reflect the local mill and manufacturing buildings. Centrally located and shared amenities can be accessed by lower and upper school students, while separate entries and distributed administrative spaces help to define smaller learning communities. Classrooms are clustered around large Flex Spaces that are furnished to promote collaborative and independent learning, and interior windows bring borrowed light to the core of the building while also promoting transparency and connection. The school’s media center has a glass Nano Wall that opens out to a digital café, and movable walls between the cafeteria and gymnatorium allow for assemblies both large and small.
Hunking has a unique and robust artwork program that features panels and exhibits that highlight local history and celebrate Haverhill’s natural resources. Display cases that run the length of the main corridor have fixed artwork and iBeacon technology that enables mobile engagement to smartphones or similar devices. Believing that innovation in learning starts with innovation in teaching, the school includes an iClassroom, a flexible space designed to provide teachers access to training in using technology and digital tools.