Set on the 20-acre Frank J. Gargiulo Campus in Hudson County, NJ, a new $150 million High Tech High School is open for the school year, and will educate nearly 2,000 students in more than 70 leading-edge classrooms and specialty spaces.
The 350,000-square-foot county vocational magnet school – which serves grades 9-12 in Hudson County – combines technically-focused, hands-on learning with a challenging academic curriculum. Replacing its former aging, undersized North Bergen campus, the new school has been described as “the gem of high schools in Hudson County.”
The Hudson County Improvement Authority (HCIA) managed the design and construction process for Hudson County Schools of Technology (HCST) and partnered with RSC Architects, DMR Architects, MAST Construction Services, and Terminal Construction Corp. to design and build the new school.
“The Frank J. Gargiulo Campus will quickly become the gold standard for technical high schools across the country,” said Amy Lin-Rodriguez, acting superintendent of HCST. “Our design team, working collaboratively with our educators, have created something truly revolutionary. I know that it will serve our students and staff with the resources to drive learning to the next level.”
The new campus features a fabrication lab to help students explore spatial ideas through model building, a 120-seat black box theater, 325-seat performing arts auditorium, 80-inch interactive monitors to replace and enhance standard chalkboard learning, and a TV production studio with a functioning control room. Outdoor features include a hydroponic rooftop garden where students will grow food to be used in the culinary kitchen lab.
The school was designed to meet LEED Gold standards and requirements for sustainability. Features including water efficient landscaping, geothermal heating, a green roof, and wind turbines were implemented to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and wastewater emitted from the campus.
“It’s an honor to see the former Field Station Dinosaur Park transformed into a campus that puts Hudson County on the map as a top educational and environmentally conscious landmark,” said Norman Guerra, CEO of the Hudson County Improvement Authority. “We have our outstanding designers and construction managers to thank.”
As home to High Tech High School, KAS Prep, and Hudson Technical, the campus’ wings incorporate four academies of vocational education: Culinary Arts, Design & Fabrication, Applied & Environmental Science, and Visual/Tech & Performing Arts.
The vision for the cutting-edge facility began more than 10 years ago by HCST and RSC Architects, who developed bridging documents to ensure the vision would become a reality. The HCIA managed the final design and construction, utilizing the design-build method to ensure a streamlined process. Terminal Construction Corporation was retained as the contractor, and DMR Architects as the architect of record. Mast Construction Services Inc. was engaged as the owner’s representative and construction manager to oversee the day-to-day activities.
“Education trends are leaning more towards project-based learning to teach students ‘real world’ lessons, as opposed to sitting behind desks in a classroom,” said John P. Capazzi, president of RSC Architects, the project’s design bridging architect.
“The new High Tech High School will be a model for other districts seeking to be more progressive with their curriculums and preparedness of students for real-life success,” added Lloyd Rosenberg, president and CEO of DMR Architects, the project’s architect of record.
“The entire project team was commonly united in achieving successful project completion in 27 months for the 2018 school year,” said Ted Domuracki, president of MAST Construction Services, Inc.
“I am humbled by the decision to dedicate this campus in my name,” says Frank J. Gargiulo, former superintendent of HCST and its namesake. “These students are among the brightest in the country and deserve a quality space to study and prepare themselves academically for the future.”
The Hudson County Schools of Technology offers career and vocational education for public middle school and high school students in sixth through 12th grades, and for adult students throughout Hudson County. With a 99% graduation rate, U.S. News ranked HCST High Tech High School #35 on its 2018 list of the “Best High Schools in New Jersey,” and #1063 on its list of “Best U.S. High Schools.”