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The Fessenden School

West Newton, MA

Over a five-year period, CRJA-IBI Group designed all site work at The Fessenden School, a private, preparatory school serving students in grades kindergarten through ninth grade.

These projects entailed circulation design, new playgrounds, courtyard spaces, an athletic field, the site plan for a new Athletic Center, and a master plan for the oldest section of the campus, known as Hyde Slope.

CRJA-IBI Group designed two children’s playgrounds and a new vehicular exit road, as well as a courtyard space created by a newly constructed classroom building. The courtyard design features two brick seating areas, which also serve as outdoor classrooms. Low berms and plantings provide privacy for each space. A variety of plants provide color and texture during all four seasons, as the Kelley Courtyard is the visual focal point for the four surrounding buildings. Designing the site plan for the Athletic Center was especially challenging because the building site straddled an elevation change of more than 25 feet. CRJA-IBI Group collaborated with the project architect in establishing the building location and finished floor elevation in order to create a link to the academic core and accessible routes to parking, bus drop off, and the tennis courts, which were located at the bottom of the site. CRJA-IBI Group’s design proposed materials and construction details that met the school’s budget and complemented the school’s physical character.

Following the construction of the Athletic Center, CRJA-IBI Group was retained by The Fessenden School to design a multipurpose, daily practice sports field. Existing soils were not suitable, so CRJA-IBI Group assembled a team of geo-technical and civil engineers who collaborated in designing the soil profile and under-drainage system, respectively, and also assisted with oversight of construction.

CRJA-IBI Group’s master plan for the Hyde Slope section of campus focused primarily on updating and unifying the drainage system and providing accessible connections within the school’s dense academic core. The CRJA-IBI Group plan manipulated grades to provide accessibility without ramps and developed new courtyard designs that recur as themes in the design of the closely spaced buildings.







Athletic Center Sketch

Athletic Center Sketch

The Fessenden School

Business Line
Primary & Secondary Schools

US Northeast

Cathy Offenberg, Principal

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