The site design supports the new facility with segregated bus and parent drop-off, ample parking for faculty and visitors, and other facilities necessary to create a functional school site. Additionally, the recreational facilities that had been removed to allow for new school’s construction were recreated. Adjacent wetland resource areas required that the site receive approval from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) prior to the start of construction. SMMA led the environmental permitting efforts with the agency to ensure a successful project.
A New Chapter in RI School Design
The Archie R. Cole Middle School, a 110,000-square-foot facility accommodating 573 students in grades 6-8, represents the latest thinking in producing learning spaces for students, teachers, and administrators.
Our design goal for the school was simple: To ensure that learning takes place in an intimate environment in which each child shares a supportive bond with peers and a family of teachers.
SMMA’s inclusive approach to programming and designing the school brought together faculty and staff, town council, building and school committees, and the neighborhood association. To avoid the appearance of the school being out of scale for the neighborhood, SMMA’s design located the highest point of the structure central to the site, then “stepped” the building down to the residential street. We also created a “civic core” by locating a multipurpose space and gymnasium around the cafeteria that can be used for community activities. The three-story academic west wing is located at the quiet center of the site, while the more civic functions step down to the residential height of the surrounding neighborhood.