Civic Builders
North Star Academy Charter School

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 previous campus in the Military Park Historic District was comprised of two separate facilities, a high school and middle school. To meet the needs of the growing student population, KSS Architects transformed an existing turf field and parking lot/alley behind the existing facilities into a state-of-the-art, multilevel building that strengthens the campus setting. Elevated walkways and a new central courtyard and campus entrance 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 uses 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

Size: 50,000 sf

Program: Middle school and high school, ultimately serving 900 students

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

Photos: Taylor Photographics