Bridgeport School Demonstrates Sustainability and Innovation

| August 28, 2014 | 0 Comments
High Profile September 2014

Fairchild Wheeler Multi Magnet Campus

Bridgeport, CT – The new Fairchild Wheeler Inter-district Multi Magnet Campus, designed by JCJ Architecture and built by Fusco Corporation, is the culmination of more than a decade of work by a university professor, a city mayor, regional business & industry leaders, the local community and educational professionals.

It represents five years of visioning and planning and seven years of creativity and perseverance by the design and construction teams. It overcame a complex process of city and town boundary redefinition that required state legislative approval.  It rehabilitated a closed state park and is the largest and most environmentally sensitive secondary school in the State.



Occupants have views to the forested site

Fairchild Wheeler will bring an innovative educational approach to 1,500 students from Bridgeport and seven surrounding towns each year around a project-based STEM/STEAM curriculum. The 270,000sf 9-12 Magnet High School is set on 65 acres of park land running along the edge of Connecticut Route 25. The school is the first new high school built in Bridgeport in 50 years and draws 70% of its students from that city.

The built environment required for this progressive and high technology program was one that would be flexible, interactive and adaptable. The school has been organized into a single, continuous core building with three learning communities located in separate wings. The core building includes the school’s commons – an open, two-story space that runs the entire length of the building – that serves as the school’s main assembly area and as the cafeteria. This part of the building also includes overall building administration, school nurse, gymnasium, black-box theater, art, music, media center, food service and project rooms.

These flexible “project rooms” provide space for business and industry partners, including Sikorsky, the Beardsley Zoo, and PerkinElmer, to work with students in project-based learning opportunities. These rooms are fronted by large glass accordion-fold doors that can be opened – so activity can spill into the hallways, or closed – to keep student activity on display while providing a quiet environment.


Aerial view of new Magnet campus

The three magnet programs (information technology and software engineering; zoological science, research and biotechnology; physical sciences, engineering and aerospace/hydrospace) are housed in separate three-story wings that accommodate labs, classrooms and “project workrooms.” These workrooms provide each student with a personal workstation – the effect is closely akin to an open-concept office environment.

A focus on sustainability was key throughout the design and construction of this building. An underground rainwater harvesting tank provides the school with more than 2 million gallons of grey water annually. Energy-efficient design elements include a 106 kW photovoltaic array as well as 10 vertical axis roof-mounted wind turbines located above the main student entry. The turbines are visible from the exterior as well as from multiple locations within the building, and they have been oriented to take advantage of the prevailing coastal winds. It is anticipated the school’s wind turbines and solar panels will generate 120kW of power and a building dashboard will monitor energy use and become part of the curriculum.

The wind turbines and solar panels alone save approximately 24% of normal electricity costs per year for the school, and the energy-efficient design as a whole is expected to save the school $150,000 per year in utility costs. The project utilizes 42% recycled materials and 22% of the materials were sourced within 500 miles of Bridgeport.

Indoor air quality was monitored closely during construction. Large expanses of glass provide a connection between indoor and outdoor learning areas and offer plenty of natural light throughout the campus. The building’s open and light-filled interior is facilitated by various types of shading—enabling light to penetrate the building and for occupants to have views to the forested site without solar heat gain.

The interior is not only visually connected to the site, but five vegetated roofs – accessible off classroom spaces – make the building itself an extension of the outdoors. The exterior incorporates metal panel, masonry and composite wood panels. This building earned LEED Gold certification in February 2014.


Project Team:

Architect – JCJ Architecture, Hartford, Conn.

MEP, Structural, Site/Civil Engineering – Diversified Technology Consultants, Inc. (DTC),Hamden, Conn.

Landscape Architect – Fuss & O’Neill, Inc., Manchester, Conn.

Food Service – Crabtree McGrath Assoc., Inc.,Georgetown, Mass.

Technology – R.G. Vanderweil Engineers, LLP, Boston

Traffic Consultant – Frederick P. Clark Associates, Rye, N.Y.

Acoustician – Acentech, Inc.,Cambridge, Mass.

Security Consultant – Ducibella, Venter & Santore,Hamden, Conn.

LEED – Steven Winter Associates, Inc., Norwalk, Conn.

Environmental Consultant -REMA Ecological Services, Inc. Manchester, Conn.

Hardware -P.H. Hawley Associates, LLC,Murrells Inlet,S.C.

Borings & Geotech -Clarence Welti Associates, Inc.,Glastonbury, Conn.

Survey – The Bongiovanni Group, Inc.,Newington, Conn.

Construction Manager – Fusco Corporation,New Haven, Conn.

Program Manager – O&G Industries, Inc..Waterbury, Conn.


Sitework – K&W Construction, Southbury

Concrete – Bismark Construction, Milford

Masonry –        Joe Capasso Masonry, Middletown

Structural Steel and Misc. Metals – Shepard Steel, Hartford

Roofing – Silktown Roofing, Manchester

Glazing and Metal Panels – Acorn Glass, Stratford

General Trades and Drywall – A&A Drywall, Milford

HVAC – Enterprise Plumbing and Heating, New Haven

Fire Protection – MJ Daly, Waterbury

Electrical and Security – Ducci Electric, Torrington

Millwork and Lab Casework -Elli Millwork   Queens, N.Y.

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Category: All, Education

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