Background and Context
JCJ Architecture was selected by the City of Hartford for this fast-track multiple-phased project to incorporate the current Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School and Breakthrough North Magnet Elementary into one campus. Currently unoccupied in 2018, the firm’s task is to reimagine and renovate-as-new the facility currently used by the middle school in Hartford’s North End neighborhood into a PreK-8 Campus for the 2020 academic year.
Although not currently on the historic register, the 1922 Neo-Gothic Thomas Snell Weaver High School is designated as an historic structure by Hartford’s Court of Common Council. The facility has many architectural features worthy of preservation and revitalization. The historically sensitive elements that will be repaired and restored include stained and leaded glass windows, masonry façade, terrazzo corridors, existing plaster coffered ceilings, columns and decorative elements in the Auditorium and Gymnasium.
Programming and Visioning
The building will incorporate a dental clinic and spaces for the ECAT and IGOAL programs. A two-story addition for middle school dining and multipurpose space, used primarily by the elementary students, has an operable wall between to transform into shared space. Outdoor courtyards allow classrooms access to natural daylight, play space and additional outdoor learning classrooms.
The building has been carefully evaluated and will be reconstructed to create next generation learning environments as well as meet current programmatic needs. The school will be separated into two schools with shared spaces such as the Auditorium, Media Center, and Debate Room. The Breakthrough North Magnet School includes Grades PreK-5 with 400 students and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School Grades 6-8 with 400 students with distinct vertical/horizontal circulation within each school.