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March 2017

High-Profile Focus: Institutions & Schools featuring SCUP

North Atlantic Region

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Agostini/Bacon Completes School Designed by Dinisco

The new J. Henry Higgins Middle School

Peabody, MA – Agostini/Bacon Construction Joint Venture recently completed the new J. Henry Higgins Middle School, a $70 million, 226,000sf state-of-the-art building consisting of a new 500-seat auditorium, a 500-seat cafeteria, gymnasium, classrooms, and administrative spaces. The project was designed by Dinisco Design Partnership of Boston. The new school was built adjacent to the

Interior of new J. Henry Higgins Middle School

old middle school that was subsequently abated and demolished. New playing fields with additional site improvements are currently being constructed where the previous middle school was located. The project exceeds the new standards under the commonwealth of Massachusetts sustainable building codes and will achieve LEED Silver certification.

Suffolk University Moves Campus Boston – As administrators at Suffolk University worked through the process of shifting their campus from its original Beacon Hill base to Boston’s downtown area, they wanted to do more than provide a basic learning facility. Their goal was to create a flagship academic building with state-of-the-art classrooms and science labs. To project that image, designers chose architectural precast concrete panels with four textures to create a moving, three-dimensional effect across the building’s façade. The facility originally was designed prior to the Great Recession with a hightech appearance combining aluminum panels and curtain wall, explains Will Voulgaris, principal at NBBJ, the architect of record. Once the economy dropped, so did the project’s budget. “We needed a more economical solution that still met the university’s design goals,” he says. “Precast concrete’s material costs were lower, as were its construction costs.” About three-quarters of the facing consists of precast concrete panels, with the rest glass curtainwall, but the percentage varies by façade. Designers created panels with a geometric pattern of four triangles across the panel’s face, meeting with the points at the center. Each features smooth faces or reveals along with slightly varying depths. The panels average a 6-inch thickness, with the slopes adding or subtracting 1 inch to create a 2-inch difference between some. A key part of that savings came from being able to erect the project through Boston’s winter months. The panels were erected on the second shift, allowing them to use the same crane as was used during

Suffolk University / photo by NBBJ Boston

the day to move other materials. Suffolk Construction, the general contractor, handled the erection logistics. “The project is located in the middle of the city, so it was a tight, urban space,” Voulgaris says. “The erectors did a great job of coordinating the arrival of panels and the erection, so it was a smooth process.” Precast Specialties Corp., which fabricated the panels, is located only about 20 minutes away, which facilitated the logistics of deliveries. “We are really pleased with the final look; the panels give a richness to the skin that we couldn’t have accomplished any other way,” Voulgaris says. Owner: Suffolk University, Boston; designer: NBBJ, Boston; structural engineer: Lemessurier Inc., Boston; contractor: Suffolk Construction Co., Boston; precaster: Precast Specialties Corp., Abington, Mass.

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High-Profile: March 2017