March 2021

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M A R C H 2 0 2 1 | 63 New Westminster Secondary School R EN D ER I N GS CO U RT E SY K M B R A RC H I T EC T S P L A N N ER S I N C . NEW WESTMINSTER SECONDARY SCHOOL by ROBIN BRUNET A t a price tag of $106.5 mil- lion, the replacement New Westminster Secondary School is the largest capital project of its kind in B.C., and end-users say the money has been well spent. Not only is the design of the new 236,800-square-foot facility conducive to 21st century learn- ing techniques, it boasts a stage that matches neighbouring Massey Theatre, a full professional training kitchen, and an expansive gymnasium. The new school replaces the origi- nal New Westminster Secondary that was built in 1949. Despite having a smaller footprint (but three storeys instead of the original's two) it has a capacity for 1,900 students and features 56 classrooms, seven collaborative learning spaces, a 5,600-square-foot grand commons foyer, a 280-seat per- forming arts theatre, a fitness gym, a gym with three full basketball courts and retractable bleachers, and two out- door sports fields. KMBR Architects Planners designed the school in a West Coast contemporary style reimagined to optimize glazing – and between the glazing and lightwells it helped achieved New Westminster Schools' objectives to make learning visible and to have natural light penetrate deep into the interior, providing an open and inviting environment. Work began in 2016 when the B.C. government announced funding for the design and build of the project. "IBI Group was retained on the compliance side and Tony Gill did the indicative design, which KMBR later brought to fruition," says Dave Crowe, capital projects director for New Westminster Schools. "The design was informed by extensive consultation with school board trustees, parents, students, and the community, and we also researched other schools in North America and Europe to get design ideas." Flexibility was the key to the proj- ect, with plenty of breakout space and rooms able to be reconfigured, depending on learning needs. Also, the main level was divided into two wings to accommodate the gym and performing arts facilities, and the trade and maker spaces, with roll-up doors leading onto patios to blur the demarcation between indoor and out- door spaces. Many elements of the new school were also impressive purely from an architectural perspective, such as "the extensive use of wood and wood slat ceilings along all the hallways," explains Karim Hachlaf, superin- tendent of New Westminster Schools. "The wood is a nice counterpoint to the main building elements of con- crete and glass and it imparts a feeling of warmth." LOCATION 820 Sixth Street, New Westminster, B.C. OWNER /DEVELOPER New Westminster Schools (School District #40) ARCHITECT KMBR Architects Planners Inc. DESIGN BUILD CONTR ACTOR Graham Group STRUCTUR AL CONSULTANT Glotman Simpson Consulting Engineers MECHANICAL /ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT Integral Group L ANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Maruyama & Associates TOTAL SIZE 236,800 square feet TOTAL COST $106.5 million 3:05 PM

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