New freshman building reunites school



The freshman building will be finished soon and will feature spaces for students to gather together.

For the first time in years, the freshmen will soon be on the same campus as the rest of the school.

Assistant Head of School Hal Mason led a tour of the new freshman campus building for teachers in May to introduce them to the new space.

Since the fall of 2020, the high school has used OLS as a temporary space for 9th graders during multiple renovations on the main campus. The new freshman building at 22 Tappan St. spans 118,000 square feet and can accommodate up to 700 people, according to Assistant Head of School Hal Mason. The building is expected to open as early as November or December of this year. The class of 2026 will be the first grade in over three years to not use the cohorting system.

Many teachers and students have taken the opportunity to tour the new building. METCO Coordinator and teacher of African-American Studies Malcolm Cawthorne said that he found the use of space to be effective since the building goes over the train station.

“By using the parking lot, as well as going over the T, it gave us a lot of space besides just building tall,” Cawthorne said. “That’s a big deal in Brookline. We don’t want these edifices that are giant eyesores. It’ll feel like a part of the community as well as the overall campus.”

Unlike OLS, the new building will also house other students besides 9th graders, such as Advanced Placement Physics and drama classes. Additionally, if a teacher has three sections of 9th grade and one class with seniors, then the seniors would go over to the building at 22 Tappan.

Before the freshman building was built, architects observed and interviewed students at the high school.

“The thing that they found most compelling was the way that students were using the picnic tables around the building,” Mason said. “They’re like, ‘We need to create spaces that look like this to encourage kids to gather in that type of way.’ They’ve built something that we think is going to work really well with the high school.”

Social worker Gabrielle Dean also went on the tour and said that she enjoyed how the numerous windows in the new building allowed students from the freshman building to see the rest of the campus.

“There’s glass and views everywhere. I’ve worked with a lot of distractible kids over the years and being able to look outside is always very useful,” Dean said. “It also makes a building that’s kind of far away from the main building feel more part of the campus because you can always see the main building.”