Site tour: Providence Career and Technical Academy

In Buildingsby Jef Nickerson24 Comments

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Wednesday I had the opportunity to tour the new Providence Career and Technical Academy on Cranston Street. Some info about the new school:

The PCTA is a brand-new, state-of-the-art career and technical education center. PCTA will be the region’s finest physical plant, designed to provide integrated academic and technical instruction in the areas of general construction, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and pipefitting, carpentry, culinary, cosmetology, automotive, and graphic communications. PCTA boasts the following amenities:

  • Wireless academic classrooms, technical laboratories, and related theory classrooms, all equipped with ceiling-mounted LCD projector, smartboards, and wireless voice amplification;
  • Three computer labs, including a graphic communications lab equipped with professional-grade hardware and software;
  • Comprehensive technical labs, all fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment reflective of industry standards.

From its physical and conceptual roots, PCTA was designed to serve a broad educational clientele. The building includes co-located adult employment services and a health clinic. In addition, the physical layout has separate entrances and security features that allow for safe, simultaneous use by both adults and children.

Electrical lab with mock-ups of wood and metal-frame rooms for students to work in. Each lab has a leaning suite adjacent to it.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Printing presses in the design studio. Design and print services will be available to the general public.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Media center. Shelves will contain periodicals, students will be able to check out laptops to use in the Media Center. The school does not have a traditional library.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Science Lab.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Field House.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Lobby on Cranston Street side.

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Glass tile

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Metal tile


Providence Career and Technical Academy

Food retail unit.

Providence Career and Technical Academy


Providence Career and Technical Academy

Cosmetology unit; will be open to the public.

Providence Career and Technical Academy


Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Providence Career and Technical Academy

Photos by Jef Nickerson

About the Author

Jef Nickerson


Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  1. Wow, looks nice a nice piece of architecture for RI…thanks for the pics, I’ll have to check it out next week when I am in town..

  2. thanks for posting this- I’ve been so curious. It looks great in there! BUT: what’s the date for this opening? And does this school or commission have a website yet? And who will be the students? high school only? older?

  3. The interior shots look great. It will be fantastic to have a top notch technical high school in Providence that sounds like it will be providing many services to the community at large as well.

    That said, I’m extremely disappointed with the exterior. Not to go all Brussat here, but it looks like it’s just trying to look different for the sake of being different. My disdain for modernism doesn’t go as far as Mr. Brussat’s, but between this abomination and the recent RISD atrocity on South Main, I have been sorely disappointed in the quality of the recent architectural projects in our fair city.

  4. Author

    The school is scheduled to open this fall. It is for high school students, capacity is 800 students, this year they will only have a freshman class though to help allow them ramp up the programs. Students come from throughout the city and were chosen by lottery (there is no exam or other qualifications). There is currently a waiting list.

    The school is considered a pre-college school, it is hoped that students will take their studies and apply them to college. However, students will be qualified in their field of study to enter the workforce upon graduation if they choose not to go to college.

    There will be programs for at risk young adults, 17-24 as well. This is not a GED program, but a career training program. I’m not sure if this program starts this fall or later.

    Not sure about a website, maybe the students will create one.

  5. The SLAM Collaborative deserves congratulations on a great design and the city for having the vision to commission them as architect. The building should be an inspiration to the students and faculty who use it.

  6. I’m sorry Peter, but I have to disagree. A modernist design would have been fine, had it attempted to take its surrounding into context. This dull gray box with weird angles, disjointed parts and seemingly random window placement does not pass my smell test of good architechture. In my eyes, it’s one of the biggest eyesores to come along in years.

  7. Author

    I’m not sure how I feel about the design. At first blush, I do love it, and am glad to see a modern leap in Providence (the temptation to build in brick must have been great, and cinder block craptaculation must have been even greater). I do wonder how it will age, both in style but also physically. It is no secret that upkeep is not one of the city’s strengths and while the building is all clean and shiny now, I cringe to think what it might look like after 10-20 years of Providence style deferred maintenance.

    As for sitting in context, while the bank is there, and the north side of Westminster is a Historic District, the area is actually really bombed out. Acres of parking behind the bank, Classical ugliness (an example of that upkeep issue, as I actually like the building, it just looks haggard) and Central being hidden in the middle of the block. It is also unfortunate that there is a parking lot at the corner of Westminster and Fricker fronting the square.

    It is also unfortunate that the square is a vast expanse of asphalt and a traffic sewer and so imposing to pedestrians (especially as it is a school zone), but now I’m getting into another topic.

    Back to the building though, I feel like I want it to have some more height at the corner. Not necessarily floor height, but some sort of spire or something, some exclamation point at the corner of the square. Though the style of the building itself serves as an exclamation point of sorts, it somehow feels squat from the square. The corner does point out and up, but I feel like it should go a bit further somehow.

  8. I do like the fact that it was built to the lot line and creates an urban streetscape.

  9. I’m with Jef. The area looking at the new Career and Tech school is definitely “bombed out”, and to be honest, standing from the street, you don’t really feel like you’re looking at something out of place (except that it’s new as opposed to being very poorly cared for).

    I really like the exterior and I think it gives a feel of revitalization to the area. I think the design may be inspiring to kids pouring in who look around them and see buildings they wish were as equipped as their school is. Then they’ll start their day learning how to make those buildings more like their school.

    I’ve heard there was some difficulty selected administration and staff– I hope this launches smoothly.

  10. What is the address for this school. Are the kids from Hanley coming here or are they going to a different building?

  11. yo this school is nice and i will enjoy going to pcta

  12. that was my friend acting stupid so dont take it seriously

  13. Author

    Are you attending the PCTA now? How is your experience there?

  14. the school is a high school i attend it and it is buetiful but the cafeteria is not yet opende but it does have advanced stuff best school ive ever been in

  15. Pingback: What Cheer/What Jeer 2009 | Greater City: Providence

  16. Armando
    I agree with Armando!
    Great to hear your excitement about PCTA on you blog note!
    Do me a favor, please spell check what you write prior to posting.
    See me if you need help.
    Mr Duffey

  17. my son has a wrestling match at the “Providence Field House”. I gather it’s part of this new academy. How do I get there?

  18. this school came out really nice. Providence has finally got a technical school, hopefully they can manage it wisely and not end up being a failure. With Ms.valentine as assistant principle it should be good since she knows about technical schools for being in Davies Tech. we miss her tho.

  19. well i obviously love this school an i amso excited that this is the school im going to next year an i hope it goes very well for me… i went there for presentation an i loved everthing about it

  20. I sign up for a workshop on May 21 2015 At 6:30 To 8:30 but can find the workshop on line — has it been cancelled
    Thank Youy — Stephen Bradford

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