African-American-Owned Design Firm Celebrates Ribbon Cutting of State of the Art Urban High School

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  • Newark, NJ (1888PressRelease) September 04, 2021 - DIGroup Architecture added to its pristine reputation of delivering large urban school replacement projects to communities throughout New Jersey with the ribbon-cutting of the new Camden High School. The award of the $133 million school, funded by the NJ Schools Development Authority, ranks among the top three largest school projects in the firm’s history, alongside the $120 million Phillipsburg High School (completed in 2016) and the $115 million Trenton Central High School (completed in 2019).

    The Camden High School project adds to an already robust educational portfolio of urban design projects – exceeding $1 billion in construction in the last ten years – that spans into New York City as well. The New York City Schools Construction Authority has awarded the firm its fifth new school project for a total of $75 million in construction costs.

    Click here to see additional coverage of the Ribbon Cutting ceremony.

    DIGroup Architecture has planned and designed many of the state’s most significant educational projects at over 40 high schools. Their extensive experience in the specialized needs of today’s varied high school programs, both in traditional settings and technology-rich, career-ready environments, has earned them the reputation as an expert in high school design. They are proud to have completed 6 design-build projects totaling over $415 million in construction costs.

    Crucially important to the project was the involvement of the local community and the student themselves, who participated in the design process. According to Jeffrey D. Venezia, AIA, Principal, DIGroup Architecture, “We are thrilled to have once again completed an important project for the urban public-school students of NJ here in Camden. Creating a safe, secure and sustainable facility connected to its rich and diverse history has been both an honor and a privilege for all of us at DIG.”

    As the first public high school to be constructed in over a century in the City of Camden, this is a new era for the students who are welcomed into a light-filled, modern learning environment with an abundance of offerings from classrooms, science and robotic labs, broadcast studios, and maker spaces, to performance venues, fitness spaces, locker rooms and courtyards.

    Under a design-build contract with Ernest Bock & Sons of Philadelphia, the new Camden High School is a 270,000 square foot, two-story educational structure for 1,200 students in grades 9-12 and features four separate schools: Camden High, Big Picture Learning Academy, Brimm Medical Arts Academy, and the Creative Arts Academy.

    Reverence for the original 1916 Camden High School, demolished in 2017, and its iconic role in the neighborhood’s history, growth, and presence as an anchor of the city was a prominent theme through the design and reconstruction of the replacement school. DIG helped integrate significant elements of the former historic high school building’s original construction into the fabric of the new High School—establishing a legacy site of both the history and future of Camden. Such iconic pieces as the arch from the former school’s main entrance and others were carefully installed throughout the campus and serve as interpretive exhibits to educate and celebrate the history of Camden High School as an iconic community centerpiece.

    DIGroup Architecture is one of the area’s largest minority-owned and disadvantaged (MBE-DBE) architectural firms specializing in architecture, planning, interior design and environmental graphics, signage and wayfinding services for Education, Healthcare, Senior Living and Civic clients. The firm is known for regenerating urban areas through redevelopment, preservation, adaptive reuse and new construction. The company takes great pride in its ethnically and culturally diverse staff who are passionate about architecture.

    DIG originated as a consortium of several small architectural firms who formed an alliance to collaborate and compete for large projects issued by the NJ Schools Development Authority that revitalized the state’s most under-served public school districts. This collaboration became so successful at delivering many of the state’s most significant, community-centered design projects that the firms formally merged in 2006. The profound impact these projects had on the most basic human need of health and wellness, brought a whole new meaning and purpose to the firm. From that point forward, “Architecture for Change” became our story, design philosophy and commitment to clients to re-imagine structures and environments to unite people, enhance well-being and enrich communities.

    Over their 15 years in business, they have achieved numerous design awards and recognition in industry publications for their thought leadership and ranked among the top Minority Businesses and Architectural firms by NJBIZ and Philadelphia Business Journal.

    Today, DIGroup Architecture is exponentially growing; its reach spanning New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. For more information on the firm, please contact: Debra Koehler, at dkoehler ( @ ) digrouparchitecture dot com or 732.249.6242 X110.

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