February 2020

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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 | 53 St. Edmund School Modernization ST. EDMUND SCHOOL MODERNIZATION by CHRISTINA MORRISSEY LOCATION 11712 – 130 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta OWNER /DEVELOPER Edmonton Catholic School Division ARCHITECT ACI Architects Inc. GENER AL CONTR ACTOR Whitson Contracting Ltd. STRUCTUR AL CONSULTANT RJC Engineers MECHANICAL CONSULTANT Arrow Engineering Inc ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT AECOM Engineering Inc. TOTAL SIZE 4,814 square metres (main); 3,195 square metres (second) TOTAL COST $14.9 million R EN D ER I N G CO U RT E SY ED M O N TO N C AT H O L I C S C H O O L D I V I S I O N S t. Edmund School in Edmonton, Alberta has been given a new lease on life following a $14.9-mil- lion modernization that has taken this 1954-year-old building and trans- formed it into a state-of-the-art school that students and staff can be proud of. As with most modernizations of this scale, the project (which included the replacement of the roof, mechanical and electrical systems, modernizing the parking space, util- ity connections, and landscaping) faced a number of hidden challenges, but thanks to a committed team that included Edmonton Catholic School Division, ACI Architects Inc., and Whitson Contracting Ltd., the project is on track for completion in March. "This project was a complete gut and refurbish … in fact the only thing that stayed were the foundations and walls," explains Jade Sawchuk, project man- ager at Edmonton Catholic Schools, Facility Services. "It's amazing how we were able to take a very old school and revitalize it to this extent. It is breath- taking when you look at it now." For the design of the school, Kevin Osborne and Eddo Cancian at ACI Architects Inc., were asked to join the team and had the challenging task of transforming what was a very typi- cal 1950s' school and bring it into the 21st century. "As an existing school with a 50s' classroom design, we decided we needed to open up as many spaces as we could and bring more light into the building," says Osborne. "We removed the brick frontage and replaced it with glazing. We opened up the main entrance and created a two-storey space to allow natural light to pen- etrate deep into the building. The general office was moved from the back to the front of the building and we reglazed all the stairwells." Sawchuk adds that all the corridors have been widened for accessibil- ity and the windows have also been replaced for energy efficiency and now offer great views to the outside. As is common with most build- ings of this age, many of the surprises with the modernization had to do with abatement. "This is an accepted real- ity of working on schools of this age," explains Connor Whitson at Whitson Contracting Ltd. "The issue was gen- erally how to physically abate the large areas that were required before/during summer, while keeping enough sched- ule for the reconstruction behind them." The team also had to deal with a building that had three differ- ent structural systems. "The original building was wood frame, so we had some additional construction param- eters to make the building as fire proof as possible. We re-boarded the entire building with an additional layer of drywall to meet the fire rat- ing. The other piece of the building was concrete block, which received a fairly extensive gut and redo. The last portion of the building was post and beam steel with concrete floors." The team also ran into some struc- tural difficulty in the CTS lab as the new air handling unit (AHU) that was placed on the roof was too heavy for the roof structure. "One of the main AHUs placed on the roof required significant support. The plan was to install 18-metre piles in the middle of a classroom with a headroom of three metres and install four 7,000-lb beams using manual methods. This was one of the most challenging aspects to the project as we had to co-ordinate spe- cialty equipment and contractors," explains Whitson. Today, the new structural upgrades for CTS can roughly support four 70-ton tanks in lieu of the new AHU and associated snow loads. During the modernization the team also discovered that all the exist- ing sewer utilities were 20-feet below slab, plugged, or partially collapsed. "New services needed to be located, tunnelled into place, and connected over summer to maintain school oper- ations," explains Whitson. When it came to the mechanical and electrical systems, the school has had a complete electrical and HVAC replacement. St. Edmund has been designed with a 110 KW photovoltaic system and all data servers and ser- vice connections have been relocated. Heading back outside, more space has been given for parking and care- ful consideration was also given to the drop off area, which ACI Architects relocated to alleviate traffic problems. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this project, however, was that all this work was going on while the school was still open. "The majority of our effort was to come up with phasing plans and then modify them for school occupancy purposes or from existing conditions that changed construction timelines. Additionally, the entire project gener- ally coasted and prepared for summer work schedules," explains Whitson. "In the four months of summer breaks, over 40 percent of the school was ren- ovated – which represented only 15 percent of the project schedule." Osborne adds the success of the projects is also thanks to the students and staff who were extremely accom- modating and took it all in their stride. "Getting through the phasing, which had to be adjusted three times, and having to take more classrooms away from students and staff but still give them an operating school is some- thing we can all be proud of." Sawchuk agrees, adding, "Principal Fernando Runco, along with his staff, have been gracious and accom- modating throughout the course of construction at the St. Edmund site. They provided spaces to ensure we were able to carry on and finish all the phases of construction. The positive attitude of the school created a sup- portive work environment for both Whitson Contracting and ECSD staff." As the project now nears comple- tion, Sawchuck says the reaction from parents and teachers, who are all thrilled with the new look St. Edmund Catholic School, is really the best result they could have hoped for. A BHP Mechanical-FM37339.pdf 1 2/10/20 11:58 AM ARCHITECTS INC. 17225-102nd Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta P: 780.486.6400 F: 780.486.6401 WE ARE PROUD TO HAVE BEEN YOUR ARCHITECT FOR THE ST. EDMUND SCHOOL MODERNIZATION ACI Architecture.indd 1 1/31/20 4:21

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