Press Releases September 5, 2019

New Future-Ready High School Opens in Billerica

Flexible learning environment will support evolving educational needs and act as a vibrant community resource.

BILLERICA, Mass.—The new Billerica Memorial High School is now open, a sign of the town’s reaffirmed commitment to educating its students in an innovative, healthy, and flexible environment. The project is the result of a partnership between the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the town of Billerica, design firm Perkins&Will, construction manager Shawmut Design and Construction, and project manager Leftfield.

“As a community, this is a space that we all should be proud of,” says Billerica Schools Superintendent, Timothy Piwowar. “We’ve equipped our students with a facility that will allow them to best prepare for their future, helping Billerica to become a top-tier destination for education in the Merrimack Valley.”

“The new Billerica Memorial High School will stand as an extraordinary vessel of learning for many future generations,” says Billerica Town Manager John Curran. “Anyone who walks through this building will know that the people and the educators in this town place a high value on a first-rate education for their children.”

State-of-the-Art Learning

The design of the new school supports Billerica’s diverse and forward-looking educational program through a flexible planning and design approach. Highly specialized areas—like the auditorium and STEAM spaces—are complemented by agile classrooms and informal learning areas that can be easily modified to meet different user needs.

“We wanted to equip Billerica’s students, teachers, and administrators with a space that will support evolving educational models well into the future,” says Brooke Trivas, principal at Perkins&Will. “Flexible classrooms and interdisciplinary spaces allow students to develop skills like communication and collaboration, while providing teachers and administrators the freedom to grow and expand their teaching styles.”

The high school serves more than 1,600 students in grades 8-12 and houses a 200-student Pre-K program. Academic programs offered here include nationally recognized robotics teams, an award-winning drama department, and a business and entrepreneurship club that competes internationally. The school also accommodates district administrative offices.

“As the academic sector continues to evolve and cater to the needs of today’s educators and students, it’s been an honor to lend our expertise in this space and help Billerica’s vision come to life,” says Kevin Sullivan, vice president at Shawmut.

Community Effort, Community Space

Designed to function, in part, as a community center, the new Billerica Memorial High School can accommodate town-wide events in its gymnasium, auditorium, and dining commons. Additionally, site improvements will continue through the 2019-20 school year, resulting in an athletic complex, bike and walking paths, and a quad-style civic green. When complete, the new high school and surrounding site will be a vibrant town center, offering ample spaces for the entire community to gather and connect.

The school’s new brand identity, also designed by Perkins&Will, represents the Town of Billerica’s values with the theme of “Reflection with Direction: Honoring the Past, Aiming for the Future.” During the design process, community members sorted through thousands of archival photographs—including some of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy visiting the old high school when he was a U.S. Senator—that best tell Billerica’s unique story. Designers then integrated these photos, along with color, texture, and messages like “home of the brave,” and “I am Billerica” into the building’s architecture.

“The branding implemented in the Billerica Memorial High School will become the desire and benchmark for future district high schools in the Commonwealth,” said David Saindon of project management firm Leftfield. “The community’s contributions have made this project so true to Billerica, reflective of the town’s history and values.”

Building Design and Craftsmanship

The new school building reflects Billerica’s heritage as a New England mill town while contributing a forward-thinking architecture and materiality to its surroundings. Traditional red brick is reimagined with intricate, geometric corbeling, creating a dynamic exterior façade. Inside the main atrium, a lattice of wood adds warmth to the building’s largest space and provides acoustic control, all while recalling the timber structures of many historic town buildings.

“At every scale, we used simple, honest materials—wood, brick, steel—in thoughtful, inventive compositions. In that way, we marry the architectural grammar with the community’s story,” says Patrick Cunningham, designer at Perkins&Will.

“Ultimately, this is a building that will endure—from the architecture and materiality to the future-ready educational program,” says Brooke Trivas. “We’re honored to be part of a project that will make such a lasting impact on the entire Town of Billerica.”

About Perkins&Will

Perkins&Will, an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm, was founded in 1935 on the belief that design has the power to transform lives. Guided by its core values—design excellence, diversity and inclusion, research, resilience, social purpose, sustainability, and well-being—the firm is committed to designing a better, more beautiful world. Fast Company named Perkins&Will one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Architecture, and industry rankings consistently place Perkins&Will among the world’s top design practices. With an international team of more than 2,700 professionals, the firm has over 20 studios worldwide, providing services in architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, and landscape architecture. Partners include Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen; retail strategy and design consultancy Portland; sustainable transportation planning consultancy Nelson\Nygaard; and luxury hospitality design firm Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR). For more information, visit

About Shawmut Design and Construction

Shawmut Design and Construction is a $1.4 billion national construction management firm with a reputation for completing extremely complex and logistically challenging projects for the most high-profile clients in the industry. As an ESOP (employee-owned) company, Shawmut has created a culture of ownership, proactive solution-making, and forward thinking. Eighty percent of its business comes from repeat clients, proving there is a strong focus on building lasting partnerships.  Shawmut’s unique business model allows project teams to better service clients by focusing their specialized expertise within one of the following areas: Academic, Tenant Interiors, Cultural & Historic, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Hotel, Luxury Homes, Restaurant, Retail, and Sports Venues. Shawmut has offices located in Boston, Providence, New York, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. For more information, please visit


LEFTFIELD is a Boston based Owner’s Project Management firm.  Where many might see the phrase “out in left field” as eccentric or odd, it signals exactly what’s needed in this industry − a truly unique and highly effective approach to complex project management. Since its inception 12 years ago, the firm’s concentration has centered around both public and private projects, most of which are technical and logistically challenging.  LEFTFIELD has built a strong reputation on the ability to understand the needs and vision of each client. As project managers, they deftly balance the competing interests of budget, schedule, and quality to ensure the owner’s project has the best project outcome.  LEFTFIELD offers a variety of services including Owner Representation, Program Management, Site Representation, Construction Administration, Audit Services, Cost Management, and Reporting and MEP Expertise.  For more information, please visit