Bristol County Ag Awarded ENR-New England Best Project
The Bristol County Agricultural High School campus redesign project was recently selected by Engineering News Record-New England as the 2023 regional Best Project for the K-12 Education category. Located on the Taunton River in Dighton, MA, Bristol Aggie is one of only three agricultural high schools in Massachusetts. The campus redesign, completed in 2022, created a sustainable landscape for learning while actively engaging with the outdoors. Halvorson | Tighe & Bond Studio served as landscape architect for the project, playing a vital role in integrating the educational curriculum with the landscape and agricultural facilities.
Union of School and Working Farm
Bristol Aggie has a uniquely hands-on curriculum that trains over 600 students for careers in Animal Science, Agricultural Mechanics, Arboriculture, Floriculture, Landscape Design and Contracting, and Natural Resources Management. The transformative site design integrated new and existing buildings with agricultural operations and landscaped elements. New development was located on North Campus, including the Center for Science and the Environment, Student Commons, and Dairy Barn. South Campus was re-envisioned with extensive site design and a new Arbor/Landscape workshop.
Preserving the Spirit of Place
Established in 1912, the Bristol Aggie campus has a unique and historic landscape character which our landscape architects sought to preserve through design. Stone rubble walls, mature trees, and expansive views toward the Taunton River all serve to connect the campus to its rural setting. Great care was taken to protect existing trees, among them sugar maple, red oak, European beech, and Japanese maple specimens, and especially the giant silver maple at the South Campus entrance – an iconic landscape feature, but also a “climbing tree” for the Arboriculture program.
Unique to the school’s mission is its long-time focus on environmental protection and managing natural resources. Sustainable design was a top project objective, for buildings and the site, and two sub-projects were designed to achieve Gold LEED certification. Of special importance were water conservation and stormwater management, to benefit both the Taunton River and the town’s impaired well water resources. This was addressed through multiple strategies, which include rainwater harvesting in a 40,000-gallon cistern for irrigating the central quad, and the use of non-irrigated meadows and drip irrigation elsewhere. Robust stormwater infiltration measures include series of bioswales for runoff from roadways and parking lots, and the dry swale landscape feature for the roof runoff.
Landscape for Learning
The design integrates multiple opportunities for outdoor instruction, hands-on projects, and community interaction. Involving the school community in the shaping of this landscape was vital. Early in the design process, landscape architects Vesna Maneva, Bryan Jereb, and Cynthia Smith of Halvorson | Tighe & Bond Studio led an interactive design workshop with the students, whose ideas and observations helped articulate the design of the North Campus quad. Today, the students and faculty use the outdoor spaces daily for class instructions and projects, socializing over recess and lunch, and proudly invite the public for events like Farm to Feast and the popular Fall Show.
Architects HMFH Architects, Inc.
Landscape Architects Halvorson | Tighe & Bond Studio
Civil Engineer & Site Surveyor Samiotes Consultants, Inc.
Geotechnical Engineering McPhail Associates, LLC
Sustainability Consultant The Green Engineer
Structural Engineer Foley Buhl Roberts & Associates, Inc.
MEP Engineers Garcia Galuska DeSousa Consulting Engineers
Fire Protection Engineers AKAL Engineering
Hazardous Materials Universal Environmental Consultants
Traffic Consultant Green International Affiliates, Inc
Owner’s Project Management Colliers International