Primary School Expansion
Montclair Kimberley Academy | Montclair, NJ
Montclair Kimberley Academy’s Primary School, serving Grades Pre-K through 3rd, needed a large, flexible space on campus where the students could come together as a whole. The new “Cafetorium” addition can serve as a single large assembly hall with 400 seats or it can be divided for daily events; one half can comfortably seat 100 students for lunch while simultaneously hosting a performance or assembly for 150.
The stage combines a traditional proscenium with a larger thrust. The height was carefully tuned for the young students: low enough to feel safe and connected, but high enough to be seen and heard. The flat floor, as opposed to a sloped or “raked” floor, allows the space to be flexibly used for dance classes, indoor play, parent orientation, social events and more. A new commercial kitchen supports the dining room, allowing the older kitchen, which had been along a main academic corridor, to be converted into classrooms.
The site was redesigned to better accommodate buses, pedestrians and cars for pick-up/drop-off which has improved student safety, allowed for reorganized parking, and created a more pleasant view of the school from the surrounding neighborhood. A playground now holds pride of place at the entry to the school. Admissions offices were moved to the front of the building, home to a new centralized check-in area which also features a gallery for showcasing students’ work. Child-scaled benches are placed along the corridor for waiting, leading directly to a covered porch for the queuing of students.
Size: 12,000 sf
Budget: $7.2 million
Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape