March 2021

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M A R C H 2 0 2 1 | 61 Forest Lawn High School Modernization P H OTO G R A P H Y CO U RT E SY C H A N D OS CO N S T RU C T I O N LT D. FOREST LAWN HIGH SCHOOL MODERNIZATION by ROBIN BRUNET T he modernization of the Forest Lawn High School in Calgary is a good example of how a lim- ited budget can be focused on specific areas of a facility to boost their effi- ciency and make the entire school more attractive as a result. First opened in 1968 with a south- west addition to the school completed in 1984, Forest Lawn High School is known for its career and technology courses, and enhancing these offer- ings was the intent of the $12-million modernization, which was approved by the province in 2017. The Calgary Board of Education decided the proj- ect would be completed in two phases: phase one would update the Career & Technology Study (CTS) spaces, band, sports medicine and fitness areas; while phase two would add class- rooms, computer labs, and completely renovate the library. Erin Hafichuk, project manager, capital projects at the Calgary Board of Education, says, "The automotive, welding, and construction studies are core programs and we really wanted to bring them up to current standards. We also wanted to accommodate an expanded welding program to sup- port apprenticeship opportunities as well as regular program options." Riddell Kurczaba Architecture Engineering Interior Design Ltd. was retained in 2017 to redevelop the CTS wing to include an additional weld- ing lab, an expanded mechanics shop with integrated service areas for auto- motive mechanics/heavy equipment, and a renovated carpentry shop. The second phase would oblige Sameer Deshpande, Riddell's asso- ciate/senior project manager, to repurpose existing areas and expand teaching spaces to include new class- rooms, four computer labs, and one fashion design lab. The school's library would also be renovated. The first phase was scheduled for completion in the fall of 2019, and the second phase would commence in the summer of that year. Deshpande describes the project as an elaborate reconfiguration of spaces, "and this translated into knocking down walls and building new ones. For the CTS component we transformed four box-like shops into three big shops, and we created two classrooms for theory teaching that were acousti- cally separated for privacy." The added CTS space was made possible partly by the removal and relocation of the school's band and choir area. Similarly, the cafeteria proportions were reduced in order to accom- modate a fitness program, teachers' offices were converted into class- rooms, and one of Forest Lawn's three gyms was transformed into the dedicated band space and a sports medicine facility. A significant portion of phase two focused on the existing library, which Hafichuk describes as "overly large and designed for the pre-computing era, giving us the perfect opportunity to create a new hub for 21st-century learning. Sameer's team embraced the challenge to re-imagine this space as a Learning Commons, integrating four new computer labs into a welcoming and dynamic space for students that supports many ways of learning." To boost the school's energy effi- ciency, Deshpande covered about 80 percent of the facility's roof with solar panels. "That was the maximum cover- age we could achieve without having to contend with structural issues, and this array will provide up to 40 percent of Forest Lawn's required energy," he says. Deshpande also gave students and educators a virtual tour of his designs via 3D goggles: "It was a great way to get feedback that might lead to design readjustments prior to construction. In this case, the feedback was unani- mously enthusiastic." Chandos Construction broke ground on the site in May of 2019, and while project director Cara Lochhead notes that the bulk of the modernization was aimed at expanding programs, "We also installed new floors, new ceilings, LED lighting, and other touches, all of which went a long way in improving the school's ambiance." COVID was in full swing by the time phase two commenced, and Hafichuk points out that "a deserted school actually accelerated our sched- ule by four months, with abatement work being the biggest gain because all the hoarding could be left standing." Lochhead adds, "We had to dig a trench seven-feet deep along one cor- ridor to run a chemical line into a specialized sump: that would have been a huge logistics challenge if kids were still in school." Forest Lawn High School is another Calgary Board of Education modern- ization project completed on time and on budget, and Hafichuk is impressed by the outcome. She says, "Chandos had to abide by an incredibly com- pressed schedule, especially for the first phase, and at the end of the day we have a practical solution for stu- dents to learn better. "This modernization will help kids engaged in learning, and that trans- lates into student success." A LOCATION 1304 44 Street SE, Calgary, Alberta OWNER /DEVELOPER Calgary Board of Education ARCHITECT Riddell Kurczaba Architecture Engineering Interior Design Ltd. GENER AL CONTR ACTOR Chandos Construction Ltd. STRUCTUR AL CONSULTANT LEX3 Engineering MECHANICAL CONSULTANT EMBE Consulting Engineers Inc. ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT MP&P Engineering TOTAL SIZE 48,000 square feet TOTAL COST $12 million

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