Project File: Site presents challenge

The new Library/Information Technology Center (ITC) on the Xaverian Brothers High School campus in Westwood, Mass., has been completed. The 17,000-square-foot, two-story wing, connected to the existing 1960s school building by a double-height lobby, is the centerpiece of a $10 million master plan.

During the planning stages of the project, it was determined that the only viable location for the new library/ITC was at the front of the school, a site currently occupied by the school chapel. Rather than displace this landmark, the design solution wraps the new building elements around the school chapel.

The library component of the expansion includes a double-height reading room. Support spaces on the reading room perimeter include a large instructional classroom equipped with smart-board technology and a faculty resource room. Wrapped around the reading room on the second level is a computer center, technology classrooms and related support spaces.

The original school complex lacked a welcoming entrance and a public gathering space. The addition of the Library/ITC provides an opportunity to create both. The double-height lobby, which features a grand staircase connecting to the second level, is the gateway to all major program elements including the library, chapel, a newly refurbished administration wing, IT resources and classrooms.

Architect for the project is Flansburgh Associates (Boston) and general contractor is F.W. Madigan Co., Inc. (Worchester, Mass.).

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