King Open School


The new King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex extends beyond the depth of a new building.  This educational and community complex center incorporates over 100 years of history tied into its campus. Since the 1800's, 850 Cambridge Street has been utilized to provide fresh air and open spaces for the City of Cambridge community. Playing fields, swimming pools and eventually elementary schools made their way to this parcel.  Today, this new campus preserves the historical uses of the property that continually brought the community together over the last century.     

The new facility spans 270,000 square feet and houses the King Open School (K-5), Cambridge Street Upper School (6-8), King Open Preschool, King Open Extended Day (KOED), Community Schools, Cambridge Public Schools Administration and Valente Library. This is the first school within the state of Massachusetts to produce zero net carbon emissions by consuming no fossil fuels on-site and having a highly efficient design to minimize energy demand. It incorporates the City’s most significant solar array – 74,000 square feet of photovoltaic panels covering the entire roof as well as parts of the exterior walls and sunshades over the windows. The project is targeting LEED Platinum and Triple Net Zero.

This new educational and community complex integrates public schools and the community within a densely populated neighborhood, making space a critical element of the project. Even though the footprint of the new buildings is larger than the original building, by housing an underground parking garage, the project was able to create and preserve an acre of green space and two acres of open space.  In addition to providing a state-of-the-art learning facility, other site amenities include the Gold Star Pool, two gyms, two basketball courts, the Charles G. Rossie Bocce Court, five playgrounds, an outdoor splash pad, Cambridge Street Plaza, Valente Reading Garden, a learning courtyard/outdoor classroom and a 380-seat auditorium. 

Project Information

Location: Cambridge, MA 

Completion: August 2019

Contract Value: $130 million

Size: 270,000 SF

Type: New Construction

Owner: City of Cambridge

Designer: William Rawn Associates | Architects, Inc. and Arrowstreet, Boston, MA

Delivery Method: CM-at-Risk (M.G.L. Chapter 149A)


"W.T. Rich's level of professionalism, thoughtfulness and knowledge is bar none. W.T. Rich  included all stakeholders for input with the design team, owner and school department during each phase of the project. Cost estimates were scrutinized with input from stakeholders at schematic design, design development and throughout construction documents. The result is a spectacular LEED Platinum educational facility that is fossil fuel free and Net Zero energy."

Carlos G. DeSousa, P.E.
Garcia Galuska Desousa
King Open/Cambridge Upper Street School and Community Complex