Portsmouth Middle School

Portsmouth, NH

50,000 SF (renovation)
85,000 SF (new)

550 students, Grades 6-8

$37.5 million


JCJ Architecture was brought in to do a fresh assessment on the feasibility of renovating and expanding the existing Portsmouth Middle School. Previous studies recommended abandonment of the school and construction of a new building outside the downtown area. This plan was not only rejected by the Portsmouth community but was contradictory to the City’s ten-year master plan objective of creating a “livable, walkable community that preserves its history [and] lives in balance with its natural resources.”

The project team engaged constituents from the school and the wider Portsmouth community in the design process and was able to formulate a plan that met with overwhelming approval from the public, the school community and from City officials. The preferred option called for the original 50,000 square foot building to be refurbished, the less substantial and poorly performing 1970s addition to be demolished and the addition of 85,000 square feet of new construction.

The City of Portsmouth has aggressively embraced sustainability and is designated as an eco-municipality. The Middle School project addresses the community’s goals for sustainability and environmental consciousness and is expected to achieve Northeast CHPS certification.