Forest Park Middle School Sustainable Site Design

Client: Perkins Eastman, Boston, Massachusetts

The Challenge

The Borough of Highland Park, NJ, in collaboration with the non-profit economic growth entity, Main Street Highland Park, embarked on the creation of a long-range plan for the restoration of the downtown business district centered upon Raritan Avenue. The objectives included a Gateway Park and streetscape restoration to improve the borough’s image and to highlight its growing sustainability mission. Chester Engineers was responsible for integration of attractive sustainable landscape and streetscape design with stormwater management and pollution reduction strategies in a densely urbanized setting that appeared to afford little opportunity for green space or ecological function.

The Interdisciplinary Approach

Chester Engineers’ role was to serve as sustainability consultant and to develop a sustainable site/civil/landscape design consistent with the LEED Silver objective. At the onset of the project, Chester Engineers conducted an extensive site analysis to identify the opportunities for sustainable site design. We developed the site design, incorporating on-site management of stormwater using a combination of management practices including use of pervious pavers in pedestrian zones or permeable paving in all parking and vehicular areas. In conjunction, rain gardens, water quality swales, and bio basins were used to reduce impervious surface. Living walls were incorporated to provide a visual buffer to neighbors and maximize green spaces.

The Sustainable Result

Chester Engineers established the necessary rapport with the architect, school committee members, community groups, and facility users in order to promote timely and open communication. The client’s goals were met on time and on budget. The project has fostered a broader level of appreciation and commitment to sustainable design within the city. The project team also participated in three public meetings to gain support from neighbors and town residents.

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    Project Highlights:
  • Identified opportunities for recreational enhancements.
  • Developed natural systems approach to stormwater management.
  • Maximized use of biobasins and rain gardens on a small site.
  • Utilized different porous paving materials based on use of area.
    Services Provided:
  • Sustainability consultant.
  • Site/civil and landscape architectural design services.
  • Feasibility study.
  • Construction documentation and observation.
  • Stormwater BMP management plan.
  • LEED Silver status.