New Jersey’s High School of the Future Becomes a Reality

Secaucus, New Jersey – Hudson County Schools of Technology partnered with RSC Architects to create the new High Tech High School within Secaucus, New Jersey. This $143 million, 341,000 s.f. school—which will replace the aging, undersized North Bergen campus—will house nearly two-thousand students in more than seventy classrooms, with specialized instruction and experience rooms.

The magnet school—which serves grades 9-12 within the Hudson County School District—will combine technically-focused, hands-on learning with a challenging academic curriculum. The design highlights a more progressive approach to education and instruction with advanced facilities, including a fabrication lab to help students explore spatial ideas through model building, a 120-seat black box theater, a 360-seat performing arts auditorium, and a TV production studio with a functioning control room. Eighty-inch interactive monitors will assist teachers during their lessons, replacing the previously-utilized, standard chalkboard learning.

“Education trends are leaning towards more project-based learning to teach students ‘real world’ lessons, as opposed to sitting behind desks in a classroom,” says John P. Capazzi, President of RSC Architects. “The new High Tech High School will be a model for other districts that seek to be more progressive with their curriculums and the preparedness of students for real-life success.”

Looking towards an environmentally-friendly future, RSC designed the facility to be one of the nation’s first schools to meet the highest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s rigorous platinum standards and requirements for sustainability. The school will also feature a hydroponic rooftop garden for students to grow their own food to be used within the culinary kitchen lab.

“We are looking to set a new standard for future educational facilities with this school,” says Jeff Schlecht, AIA, Senior Project Manager for RSC Architects. “Our eco-friendly design utilizes geothermal heating and includes wind turbines that will also be used as a teaching tool within the school’s curriculum.”

The school is designed to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted and to minimize wastewater by utilizing water-efficient landscaping, low-volume flush toilets, and waterless urinals. RSC was retained by the Hudson County Schools of Technology to craft the bridging documents that detail the overview of the school’s floor plans, dimensions, and layout.

“The newly-implemented design-build process will save the District millions of dollars in design and construction costs,” says Frank Garguilo, Superintendent of the Hudson County Schools of Technology. “The money saved will be redirected to expand the educational opportunities that are available to our students. RSC’s high-performance, environmentally-sustainable design truly enhances our community.”

The new high school will be divided into four different career academies that comprise the School of Culinary Arts, the School of Architecture and Engineering, the School of Applied Sciences, and the School of Performing Arts. Each school will be housed within its own independent building space that is designed to fit the unique needs of its students. The school is currently being built by Terminal Construction at Laurel Hill Park, located on Laurel Hill Road within Secaucus, New Jersey. The new High Tech High School is expected to be open in time for the Fall 2018 school year.