Case Study

Winchendon School-Dining Commons & Student Center

The Winchendon School is a college preparatory, boarding school founded in 1926. It moved to Winchendon, Massachusetts in 1963 and purchased a historic inn called “Toy Town Tavern”. The original building (c. 1770) was the small farmhouse facing Ash Street. The tavern, which sits on a hilltop golf course, was part of the Wyman Farm. Purchased by Morton Converse in 1912 and consequently remodeled, the Tavern has seen many notable figures throughout the years.

The educational philosophy of Winchendon School is grounded in customizing the program for individual attention. Their students include teenagers who have not been entirely successful in their prior school setting. With that philosophy, the school is organized into very small classes, intense tutoring, strong residential-academic connections and highly structured daily life.

Over the last decades, a gym was added, a library building, a couple of dorms and several classroom structures, but the central original, rambling, mixed use structure continues to serve all other functions on the campus. The interesting, older structure had charm and eclectic details, but did not meet the critical programmatic and life safety requirements of the school.