Topping Off

Lowell High School Celebrates Topping-off

The final beam is guided into place during the topping-off of the new Lowell High School gymnasium. / Photos by Cindy M. Loo

Boston – The City of Lowell, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, Lowell Public Schools faculty and students, and the community recently celebrated the topping-off of the gymnasium at the new Lowell High School. Lowell residents were invited to sign the structural beam hoisted in place in advance of the topping-off celebration.

Representatives of the City of Lowell, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, Lowell Public Schools, and the project team gathered for the topping-off ceremony.

The gymnasium is part of a larger development effort, comprising a modernization and expansion for Lowell High School. The $343 million project is slated to be fully complete for the 2026-2027 academic year.

The new school is not only the largest in the city’s history, it is also among the largest projects for the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The project encompasses 622,777sf, comprising 388,262sf of renovated space and 234,515sf of new construction, including the gymnasium and Freshman Academy. Upon completion, Lowell High School will serve 3,520 students in grades 9-12.

The design mines history – the school’s own as the nation’s first co-ed public high school, the city’s, and the site’s — to create a unique 21st-century learning environment that celebrates the future of K-12 education in Lowell. With the school sitting on the historic Merrimack Canal, the design leverages the idea of canals as “connectors” in order to enhance the educational experience through multiple lenses and reinforce the school’s civic presence within the community.

(l-r) Suffolk project manager, Pannha San Chung, and her daughters, Olivia and Vivian, took part in the public beam signing prior to the topping-off.

The centerpiece of the design is a new campus quad flanked by the new academic and gymnasium additions. This outdoor space creates a natural oasis visible from multiple spaces throughout the school and community, connects to the historic Merrimack Canal and Lucy Larcom Park (a part of the Lowell National Historic Park), and helps create a street edge via a new pedestrian boulevard.

The project’s construction manager is building contractor Suffolk; the owner’s project manager is Skanska USA Building, Inc.; and the architect is Perkins Eastman.