The newly designed Hunterdon County Vocational School computer science lab — Courtesy: Danker
By Joshua Burd
A series of new projects by DMR Architects will be on display next month as four schools open their doors for the new academic year.
The design firm, which is based in Hasbrouck Heights, announced that it has added to its K-12 portfolio with projects in Hudson, Passaic and Hunterdon counties. The largest among them is a newly built, 340,000-square-foot Hudson County High Tech High School in Secaucus, which is set to open and for which DMR served as the architect of record.
As part of the project, Hudson County sought to replace the undersized and aging space that the school previously occupied in North Bergen, according to a news release. The advanced facility will provide progressive educational spaces in support of the career-prep curriculum of the school’s four academies: the School of Culinary Arts, the School of Architecture and Engineering, the School of Applied Sciences and the School of Performing Arts.
The college-level facilities will also include geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, wind-generated turbines and a green roof, DMR said. The project will be submitted for gold certification under the LEED scale, which is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
DMR also served as architect of record for the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, which includes North Hunterdon High School in Allendale and Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner, to complete several projects. The work has resulted in new spaces for students, including a new team room and a new gymnasium at North Hunterdon High School.
Another project, completed on behalf of the Hunterdon County Vocational School District but housed within Voorhees High School, will provide a modernized computer science lab, DMR said. The space will accommodate a new program offered by the Computer Science and Applied Engineering Academy of the Vocational School District, which offers college credits through Fairleigh Dickinson University.
To accommodate the program, DMR’s design called for transforming a former office into a flexible learning environment that also includes a so-called makerspace, or a collaborative work area dedicated to hands-on educational opportunities. The firm said the space will support the curriculum of the program that focuses on modern computing and robotics and requires students to build a small, functioning robot.
“New Jersey’s school systems have always been one of the state’s top selling points,” said Lloyd Rosenberg, CEO and president of DMR Architects. “When municipalities and counties invest in their education facilities, they are contributing to New Jersey’s future growth.”
In Passaic, several DMR-designed spaces are also set to open in response to a district-wide grade restructuring, the news release said. Public School #20, which previously housed only kindergarten through fifth grade, will now welcome students in grades six through eight and is set to debut an expanded space.
For that project, DMR redesigned an existing utilities storage room to accommodate a music classroom, while also redesigning and expanding the gymnasium space.
The firm also renovated classrooms at Holy Rosary School to provide additional educational space while the district completes new construction projects, the news release said. The space will reopen in September as an annex to Public School #8.
“In modernizing so many schools, we are seeing improvements extend far beyond physical appearance and are instead really improving the educational experience of the students,” Rosenberg said. “We are often seeing this through prioritized subjects and enhanced spaces that may have previously been overlooked due to budget constraints, such as music and physical education.”