A rendering of Hudson County’s new High Tech High School in Secaucus — Courtesy: RSC Architects
By Joshua Burd
An architecture firm has unveiled its designs for a new $143 million, technologically advanced high school in Hudson County.
RSC Architects announced it has partnered with Hudson County Schools of Technology for the design-build of the new 341,000-square-foot High Tech High School in Secaucus. Now under construction on Laurel Hill Road, the complex will include a fabrication lab, TV production studio, hydroponic rooftop garden and other facilities focused on hands-on vocational learning.
The school is slated to open in time for the school year in fall 2018, RSC said in a news release. It will replace the county’s aging, undersized North Bergen campus, housing nearly 2,000 students in more than 70 classrooms with specialized instruction and experience rooms.
“Education trends are leaning towards more project-based learning to teach students ‘real world’ lessons, as opposed to sitting behind desks in a classroom,” said John P. Capazzi, president of Hackensack-based RSC Architects. “The new High Tech High School will be a model for other districts seeking to be more progressive with their curriculums and preparedness of students for real-life success.”
For instance, the school’s fabrication lab will help students learn through model building, the firm said. A black box theater and a performing arts auditorium will house 120 and 360 seats, respectively, while a TV production studio will have a functioning control room.
RSC has designed the facility to reach platinum status on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design scale, also known as LEED. As such, the school will also feature a hydroponic rooftop garden for students to grow their own food to be used in the culinary kitchen lab.
“We are looking to set a new standard for future educational facilities with this school,” said Jeff Schlecht, senior project manager for RSC Architects. “Our eco-friendly design utilizes geothermal heating and includes wind turbines that will also be used as a teaching tool within the school’s curriculum.”
RSC was retained by the Hudson County Schools of Technology to craft the bridging documents detailing the overview of the school’s floor plans, dimensions and layout, the news release said. The school is being built by Terminal Construction.
“The newly implemented design-build process will save the district millions of dollars in design and construction costs,” said Frank Garguilo, superintendent of Hudson County Schools of Technology. “The money saved will be redirected to expand the educational opportunities available to our students. RSC’s high performance, environmentally sustainable design truly enhances our community.”