The Camden Rockport Middle School (CRMS) opened in September of 2020, welcoming MSAD 28’s grade 5 to 8 students to a new 83,400 square foot facility. The school enrolls students from two neighboring, coastal Maine towns: Camden and Rockport. The new building is constructed on the former school site and was carefully choreographed to allow the existing school to remain fully operational during construction.
The three-story building utilizes the site’s sloping topography to exhibit a smaller façade facing the residential street along which the school campus is located, drawing inspiration from the neighborhood scale, building materials and rooflines. The classroom wing was placed facing the Megunticook River and adjacent woods, allowing for direct access to natural learning environments. The single-story elevation at the main entrance is flanked by the cafeteria, which has expansive views of Mount Battie, and the administrative wing. The building grows a story below and above that main floor toward the back of the site. In this way, the school has less of a visual impact on the residential neighborhood but provides ample program. The outdoor play space, designed by Sashie Misner, maximizes the potential for natural play and learning, utilizing the sloped site to its advantage.
The maritime heritage of the region is a source of pride for the district, and the windjammer is the district's mascot. Thematically, visual references to this heritage, as well as the coastal landscape, were utilized throughout the building from the interior color palette, public art installations, and room signage graphics to the large nautical chart of Penobscot Bay on the wall of the cafeteria. Wood ceilings in the lobby, cafeteria and library add additional warmth to these spaces.
The school includes grade-level classrooms, science labs, a gymnasium, a full kitchen and cafeteria, a 220-seat auditorium and administrative spaces. The building was sited with the goal of maximizing natural light throughout the educational spaces. The site is located adjacent to the town's wastewater treatment plant, and sewer thermal technology was harnessed to recover potential waste heat from the treatment plant to provide heat at the new school.