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Boston Architecture Firm Debuts Design of New Cranston, R.I., Elementary School

Wed January 18, 2023 - Northeast Edition #3
Spaces4Learning.com & Finegold Alexander


Gladstone Elementary School will have the capacity for approximately 800 students in grades K–5, serve as the city’s international school and include the consolidation of both Gladstone and Cranston’s Arlington Elementary. (Rendering courtesy of Finegold Alexander Architects)
Gladstone Elementary School will have the capacity for approximately 800 students in grades K–5, serve as the city’s international school and include the consolidation of both Gladstone and Cranston’s Arlington Elementary. (Rendering courtesy of Finegold Alexander Architects)

A Boston-based architecture firm, Finegold Alexander, has released its designs and plans for a ground-up rebuild of a 1950s-era elementary school in Cranston, R.I.

The city of Cranston and Cranston Public Schools has partnered with the company on the designs of the new, 100,000-sq.-ft. Gladstone Elementary School. Standing three stories tall, the teaching and learning facility will have the capacity for approximately 800 students in grades K–5, serve as the city's international school, and include the consolidation of both Gladstone and Cranston's Arlington Elementary.

According to Spaces4Learning, an online news site, Finegold Alexander, a studio known for its innovative educational designs, is using the existing site topography at Gladstone to create a compact building footprint that also promotes energy efficiency. The school's layout optimizes the building's solar orientation to maximize natural daylight and views for both teachers and students.

Instead of arranging classrooms along a central corridor, the designers created six distinct "Learning Communities," each a single suite of interconnected rooms, according to Finegold Alexander. Each floor also will feature Curiosity Centers for subjects like music, art and maker spaces.

The school's learning opportunities will extend beyond the building to the larger, outdoor site, where there will be playgrounds and a communal garden.

Gladstone's social heart and "cafetorium" will be situated on the first floor, Finegold Alexander noted, bolstering the school's intention as a safe and secure space for the community. Gathering stairs within the building will offer opportunities for informal seating and social interactions for students, teachers and parents alike, the company added.

"Finegold Alexander is excited to share the design of the new Gladstone Elementary School," said Regan Shields Ives, the architecture firm's principal partner. "[Its] design is focused on fostering interaction, communication, and creativity while giving the school the ability to adapt as [its] needs change over the decades."

The project is currently in its design development phase and has a projected completion date of summer 2025.

"I wanted to tell you how pleased I am with your firm right now," Ed Collins, director of plant operations of Cranston Public Schools recently told Finegold Alexander. "You are doing exactly what I thought you could do. We do things very differently [in Cranston] and you have adopted our approach."

Finegold Alexander has a vast portfolio of K-12 projects across the greater New England region, including the following three in Massachusetts: the Gibbs School in Arlington, Boston's Eliot Innovation School and Methuen High School. In addition, the firm has a long history of renovating and transforming existing buildings into forward-looking, innovative learning environments.




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