Highplain Elementary School 

Andover, Massachusetts

Accessibility in the public school system is not really an option but a requirement. So when it became clear that the adjacent sports fields, regularly used by the students at the HighPlain and Woods Hill Schools, were not easy to access for anyone using a mobility device or with different mobility needs, LEMON BROOKE was asked to step in and help solve the problem. With skepticism afoot in the community, typical for projects mis-branded as being exclusive, we set out to win hearts as well as meet the code.

Faced with an 18-foot elevation difference and a host of public outreach and education workshops, the design incorporates a sloped walk that traverses the steep hillside and maintains a sculptural form, before opening up to the fields below. Two accessible embankment slides, one large and one small, make getting down the hill quickly, a lot more fun, and a staircase for getting back up, just as fast. The addition of a low-maintenance meadow planting and improved drainage have made the site more functional not just from an operations perspective but from a programmatic one as well, with more school and community events now held on the fields than ever before. Accessibility is for everyone.

 

 

CREDITS:

Client:                                       Town of Andover, MA

Structural:                                Roome and Guarracino LLC  

Contractor:                              Cella Construction     

YEAR COMPLETED:               2019