NORTH BERGEN, N.J. — The Hudson County School of Technology in North Bergen recently completed a new Applied Science Academy and Gymnasium Annex at its Jersey City Campus. The new facility was completed in September of 2017, after a nearly three-year construction schedule.
RSC Architects of Hackensack, N.J., was the architect of record on the project, with the Wayne, N.J.-based Dobco Group serving as the general contractor. The Arris Engineering Group of Plains, Pa., provided MEP and IT services, while Harrison-Hamnett of Pennington, N.J., completed structural services. The overall project budget came out to $17.2 million.
The curriculum of the academy is to monitor and assess individual student physiologies in both an academic and practical manner that will help prepare the participants for future studies in physical therapy and related fields while promoting individual good health. The new Applied Science Academy at the Jersey City campus was designed and constructed to meet those curriculum standards.
The new 54,000-square-foot addition accommodates 150 students and 10 faculty members and support staff. The facility also includes a gymnasium, a wellness room, a fitness training room and 11 academic classrooms.
Since the curriculum of the academy is to teach the science and biology of physical fitness, there are three specialty lab spaces for a nursing lab, a bio-dynamics lab and a body composition lab. These lab spaces provide for real applications of physical therapy, nursing healthcare and physiology. The nursing lab contains individual nursing beds with a simulated hospital bed-wall for medical air, oxygen and vacuum. The physiology lab allows for students to measure and monitor the physiological impacts of exercise on the human body.
The project was an addition to the school that was originally designed in 1977 by RSC Architects. RSC in collaboration with the Hudson County Schools of Technology in North Bergen prepared an educational specifications and program of needs and space requirement for an applied science academy and gymnasium annex at the Jersey City Campus in 2013. The report outlined and described the types of spaces and requirements needed to support the curriculum and the associated staffing and services proposed. The recently completed facility is a direct reflection and achievement of those efforts.
While the project was originally expected to be complete in October of 2016, it was delayed by close to a year as result of the unforeseen conditions, according to Jeff Schlecht, AIA, senior project manager at RSC. “It was a pile-supported building — which meant we had to drive piles into the ground to support our foundations,” said Schlecht. “What was discovered is that when the site had previously been a county facility, they had never removed all the underlying structures, and nobody knew that until we started hitting piles while starting construction.”
The design incorporated translucent insulated panels to provide natural, diffused light into the gymnasium and atrium lobby, which contributed to the facility being a sustainable one. Low-VOC finishes, LED lighting, and energy-efficient plumbing and electrical fixtures were used throughout.
Brick masonry, aluminum insulated panels and the translucent panels were used as building materials for the complex. “We didn’t replicate the unique design of recessed windows that we created in the original design in 1977, but we tried to reflect that design with the use of the translucent and metal panels and brick,” said Schlecht.