October 2019

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OCTOBER 2019 | 77 Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness – Camosun College PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY CAMOSUN COLLEGE Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness – Camosun College by NATALIE BRUCKNER T he new four-storey LEED Gold Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness is a dream come true for Camosun College in Victoria, B.C. "To have a building that houses most of the Health and Human Services programs under one roof has been on the books for the College for about 30 years," explains Dean Cynthia Smith. "This new building is exactly what we needed to grow and continue to build on our commitment to improving the health and well-being of the people in the south island region. It also supports our renewed focus on interdisciplinary, Indigenous, and holistic education and practice for students, employees, and community members together." The new 95,000-square-foot, state- of-the-art Centre (that will house around 1,000 students and just over 100 faculty and staff ) was a truly col- laborative endeavour. So much so that even the location of the building was changed after input from the students who requested it be built closer to cam- pus. "This building was co-created. We took the College's Strategic Plan and then gained input from faculty, staff, and students. This building is for the students and about the students, so when they asked for us to relocate the building, we listened, and we are so glad we did," says Smith. Located at the Interurban campus allows for cross-educational oppor- tunities with all students, especially those in Athletic and Exercise Therapy, and Exercise and Wellness. However, as is so often the case with projects in this region, there were some geotechnical challenges to overcome. "We faced significant delays due to rock blasting work, which actually set us back by about six months, and so construction began in 2017. After that, everything went a lot smoother, despite facing a lot of snow onsite dur- ing the 2018/2019 winter, which was an unusual curveball for Victoria. But we managed to make up the time in order to meet our deadlines for open- ing this school year," explains David Lunn from Knappet Projects Inc. Being on a sloped site resulted in Stantec creating an interesting stepped design. "The building consists of two shifted boxes built into the sloped landscape. The simple shift in the two masses emphasizes the main entrance, creates an outdoor overhang space for students to one side and an outdoor terrace at the third floor on the other side," explains Stephen Phillips, senior VP at Stantec. With sustainability high on Camosun's agenda, the Centre has been built to LEED Gold standards using energy sustainability strategies, including passive exterior solar shades, high-performance exterior materi- als to minimize heat loss, and lower air conditioning requirements to decrease energy consumption. "The building uses a combination of curtain wall and cladding, with glass on the lower section to allow access to natural light," explains Lunn. "The construction materials were locally sourced and the building has an inno- vative white roof to reflect sunlight and reduce heat buildup." As you approach the building from the campus entrance, you notice that the facade blends into the natural land- scape of the site and the tree grove in the background. Inside, the building has been orga- nized around a four-storey central atrium. "This atrium acts as the cen- tral organizational axis and functions to bring in filtered light, a visual con- nection, and a place of calmness for students amongst the intensity of class- rooms and labs," says Phillips. "Three cuts into the building create the atrium spaces that run along the longitudi- nal axis to bring in that natural light. By creating these cuts, all four levels of the building are connected and no one program is isolated. As a result, inter- professional education and pedagogy is physically manifested in the building through this design element." Lunn adds, "The woodwork inside is extremely impressive and the foyer features a solid wood wall that reaches all the way up to a skylight. While not easy to construct, it is truly estheti- cally beautiful," says Lunn. Smith adds, "Stantec Architecture listened to our Indigenous people and translated our philosophy into the design. On the main floor we have a circular cultural centre that has been designed to hold Indigenous circles, drumming, smudging, and the special pine cone ceiling has a fan that is ideal for smudging ceremonies. You feel that Indigenous presence as soon as you walk in the building." As you walk around the Centre you also get the feeling you are walk- ing in nature. "Stantec included wood panelling and accents that mimic the trees surrounding the building. In fact each storey is based on nature and the level at which it grows. The first floor is ochre, the second is blueberry, the third is green to represent Garry oak, and the top floor is yellow for arbutus," explains Smith. The main floor of the Atrium includes four indoor trees that will tie in beautifully with the natural element and the Centre's location. "The concept of nature being brought into the building is balanced by bringing the building outwards into the landscape," says Phillips. "The nat- ural elements, inspired by the Douglas Fir tree, have been woven throughout the building." On the main floor is where you find a teaching clinic that simulates a pri- mary healthcare clinic, a cafe, showers, and the social stairs. Head up to the second and third floor and here you have the classrooms and on the west side of the building are the open con- cept office spaces that look out to the Olympic mountain range that brings a level of peace and mindfulness. "This open concept idea supports creativity and encourages group involvement. While people were ini- tially hesitant, the carpet absorbs the sound and acts as an acoustic treat- ment that has received a very positive response. It's a very healthy build- ing," says Smith. All 12 classrooms are state-of-the-art. On the fourth floor is a multipur- pose room for VR and AI as well as labs and simulation spaces. "The labs also have projectors that can project directly from what is happening with the mannequins on the beds, which enables the re-creation of health care scenarios and environments. Even students who can't attend can still par- ticipate remotely or watch the class later. The labs and simulation spaces have been designed to replicate real life and the environments our students will be practicing in. Most colleges have something similar but not at the level we now have. We really do have the full gamut and are meeting the technologi- cal requirements of students today and in the future," says Smith. It's fair to say the Centre is extremely impressive, in every way. Ultimately, its goal is to educate the next generation of nurses, community support workers, lab technologists, medical radiography technicians, mental health workers, and other pro- fessionals for Victoria's regional health care and social services systems – and there is no question this Centre will help do that. "This is an impressive building that will elevate the campus as there are no buildings comparable to this. With such a tight schedule, every day was a challenge that needed a fast response, but the team was amazing and resulted in a very successful project," says Lunn. Smith concludes: "The Centre raises the bar for the College. Students will be able to go into the work environment and bring innovative knowledge, and contribute to the health and well-being of the people they serve." A LOCATION 4461 Interurban Road, Victoria, B.C. OWNER/DEVELOPER Camosun College PROJECT LEADER Colliers Project Leaders ARCHITECT/STRUCTURAL/ MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT Stantec Architecture GENERAL CONTRACTOR Knappet Projects Inc. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Durante Kreuk TOTAL SIZE 95,000 square feet TOTAL COST Undisclosed 8:25 AM 1:56 PM 2018-11-15 8:28 AM 8:28 AM 3:05 PM 1:58 PM

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