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Pope Francis Preparatory School

Pope Francis Preparatory School is a new 450-student, 117,000-square-foot facility that unites Cathedral and Mount Holyoke High Schools as one learning community. This new school was constructed on the site of the former Cathedral High School, which was destroyed by a tornado in 2011. 

Designed as a 21st-Century learning community, this new facility was designed to foster experiential and collaborative learning for STEM and Arts curricula (STEAM). Using an open plan, the design of this school is based on visibility and transparency across discipline and function.

The first floor of the school features a 480-seat auditorium, band room, cafeteria, administrative offices, and a 48-seat chapel. The second and third floors are comprised of flexible classrooms and a STEAM wing: science, math, and art classrooms with an adjacent engineering makerspace lab. Centralized on the two academic floors are two shared teacher workrooms that act as a collaborative “home base” for faculty. The centrally-located learning commons serves as the collaborative research hub of the school. New athletic fields and a new gymnasium complete the programming for this facility.  

The design team placed special emphasis on the quality of the learning environments and evaluated each classroom on access to natural light, room orientation, noise level, and indoor air quality. Indoor and outdoor collaborative spaces increase the variety of learning spaces and to capitalize on new teaching and learning models. 

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