Uncommon Schools
Central Avenue Project

Successful learning environments are engaging, lively and fun. Downtown Newark, a thriving and historic area, provides a great setting for North Star Academy, a member of the Uncommon Schools network. The existing campus in the Military Park Historic District comprises two separate facilities, a high school and middle school. To meet the needs of the growing student population, KSS Architects is transforming an existing turf field and parking lot/alley behind the existing facilities into a state-of-the-art, multilevel building that will strengthen the campus setting. Elevated walkways and a new central courtyard and campus entrance will organize and connect the three buildings, providing opportunities for students and teachers to share resources such as the gymnasium, cafeteria and classrooms.

The design addresses several complexities in planning and code review due in part to the area's dense zoning and proximity to historical landmarks. The new building will use materials that complement the area's historic context, including red brick masonry and large, Chicago-style windows that match those on neighboring buildings. To meet the fast-tracked schedule, KSS worked with consultants and the city to expedite the project from concept to bid set drawings in just eight months.

Project Highlights
Newark, New Jersey

Program: Middle school and high school ultimately serving 900 students

Size: 50,000 sf new building; renovations to existing two buildings on 0.44 acre campus

Features: Classrooms, multipurpose room, gymnasium, laboratory and art classrooms, computer labs, administration, rooftop athletic space, parking garage

Developer: Civic Builders

Project under construction (Sept. 2010)

Images: KSS Architects LLP