Global Learning Public Charter School partnered with Arrowstreet to convert a historic but underutilized former convent into a new STEAM education center to support their rigorous, award winning program for grades 5-12. The school wanted to combine state-of-the-art science laboratories with technology-filled classrooms to create an engaging learning center to inspire students, their families, and the New Bedford community. Through a generous grant from the Jacobs, the school was able to include a “Think a Bit Lab” designed by the University of San Diego and the Qualcomm corporation, the only learning lab of its kind on the east coast.

Arrowstreet programmed the spaces and arranged the building to create an academy setting for the school. The “Think a Bit Lab” is integrated with the arts and music programs on the first floor, creating a realm of exploration and adventure. The second floor is dedicated to world language, the College and Careers Center, and library/media center. The third floor combines math classrooms with chemistry and biology labs to create an integrated STEAM learning lab. Throughout the building, there are huddle rooms for supervised and independent work to support students enrolled in online enrichment programs, college level extension courses, and internships with local companies.

Arrowstreet’s design highlights the historic features of the building while creating student-oriented spaces for future learning and preserving the building’s rich history. The project had an accelerated 18-month overall schedule and included extensive faculty programming sessions to ensure the school culture was incorporated in the new facility.

Project Details






16,500 GSF


500 5-12

Photos by Ed Wonsek