Arrowstreet was hired to address the growing demand for enrollment by repurposing and renovating an existing Elementary School in Newton, MA. The objective was to relocate the Newton Early Childhood Program (NECP), a district-wide integrated preschool catering to children aged 2.9 to under 6 years old. The program accommodates 200 full-time and 100 part-time students, including those with special needs who receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. The preschool also integrates typically developing students as community peers.

As NECP serves the entire City of Newton and the community relies heavily on car and van transportation, the site design was strategically planned. It includes a protected van loop to facilitate easy accessibility for transported students. Furthermore, an underutilized patio along Albemarle Road was transformed into an inviting plaza and front entry, designed to foster a sense of community, and serve as a gathering space.

Inside the building, the existing upper-level classrooms were redesigned with shared jack-and-jill bathrooms and interspersed small therapy break-out rooms. These modifications were made to better cater to the students’ needs, daily operations, and educational programs. The middle level received the biggest intervention with the insertion of two new classrooms in a previously double-height space. These spaces were critical to satisfy the increasing population and needs of the community.

The Lowest level provides an inviting welcome to the building for guests, students, and staff. The double-height main lobby serves as the hub, with a vibrant art installation that incorporates the NECP students as the artists. The adjacent main office, staff work areas, and conference rooms serve the daily needs of parents, staff, and therapist meetings.

The façade along Albemarle was opened up to encourage a connection to the exterior from the office and classroom spaces. The site was further enhanced with the relocation from their previous site of NECP’s playground equipment, and new landscaping and planting to create the forever home of the NECP program.

Project Details


Newton, MA


City of Newton

41,980 GSF


300 students

Year Completed


Photos by Ed Wonsek