August 2013

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Northlands Parkway Collegiate by Stacey McLachlan inkler may be a small city in Manitoba, but that is rapidly changing. Winkler is now one of the fastest-growing cities in the province. So it's no surprise that the community's current high school is bursting at the seams, with almost 1,400 students taking classes in a building designed to hold just 600. But a remedy is on the way with the opening of Northlands Parkway Collegiate (NPC) this fall. NPC is the largest project ever undertaken by Garden Valley School Division and will house 800 students with the provision for expansion to 1,000 students in the future. It isn't your average high school either. The building has four learning pods that will host 150 to 200 students each and is equipped W LOCATION 139 Northlands Parkway East Winkler, Manitoba OWNER/DEVELOPER Garden Valley School Division ARCHITECT Prairie Architects Inc. GENERAL CONTRACTOR Penn-Co Construction Inc. STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT Wolfrom Engineering MECHANICAL/ ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT Enermodal Engineering/ MMM Group LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram TOTAL AREA 112,400 square feet TOTAL CONSTRUCTION COST $33 million 80/    august 2013 with a series of classrooms, individual washrooms, a teacher resource area and a separate exit to the outdoor study areas. Learning alcoves were also incorporated into the design to act as a transition between corridor and classroom. "The space is visually and acoustically accessible to the classrooms while at the same time provides privacy for individual learning, small group work or one-on-one teaching," says Damien Fenez, principle architect at Prairie Architects Inc. Breakout gathering areas were built into each wing for use as a social area. In the centre, a sunlit common area doubles as a grand entrance point and another gathering space. A large glazing wall maximizes daylight and provides users with direct access to the gymnasium, an open connection to the cafe and a visual connection to the administration suites. As Fenez points out, these unstructured meeting spaces play an important role in the educational process. "Recognizing that social interaction is fundamental to an adolescent's cognitive development, the NPC incorporates spaces for both organized and spontaneous gathering at a range of scales." Smooth integration was key to the project and meetings were held throughout the design to gain input from the community. "The new school is a community school. It is for children, grandparents and local community groups, alike," adds Fenez. In traditional schools, opaque classrooms are located toward the front of the building with public facilities tucked away at the back, while at Northlands the opposite is true. "The cosmetology, library, learning commons, integrated daycare and the commons entrance are all located near the street entrance with large expanses of glass to enable transparency and openness to the community," says Fenez. Community input also played a pivotal role during the landscape design process. "This translated into shaping many varied and usable outdoor spaces, beyond the typical schoolyard athletic fields," says Allan Beech, associate at landscape architecture firm Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram. A strong pedestrian axis guides users from the front boulevard sidewalk through the main entry and interior commons area and out onto the backyard grounds. Here users discover a paved assembly area with a basketball halfcourt, a sheltered entry courtyard with seat walls and plentiful plants, a transitional patio from commons to fields and outdoor reading rooms. Drought tolerant shrubs and trees were utilized throughout the site and tied into rainwater storage via exterior hose bibs. The site is surface drained with a network of vegetated swales and detention areas that ultimately discharge into community ditches. The school has targeted LEED Gold status for its impressive commitment to green design. "The building draws in 100 per cent fresh air and makes use of heat recovery systems and other energy-saving measures," says Ken Bergen, supervisor of operations for the Garden Valley School Division. For example, ground-source heat pumps, chilled beams, floor heating, displacement ventilation and exterior blinds and shades contribute to comfort and energy efficiency, while natural light helps minimize lighting electricity. Rainwater will be captured and used for flushing toilets, and the urinals are waterless. But the school board's dedication to sustainability doesn't stop there. "These elements will be monitored for the first two years after construction to determine the efficiency of the equipment and how it can best be implemented in future projects," says Bergen. Initial projections are looking good with the estimated energy use expected to be an impressive 67 per cent better than the National Energy Code for Buildings. Future-proofing is an important part of sustainable building, and this two-storey school has been built to last. "The school itself is built with a 50- to 99-year life expectancy and therefore the materials have been chosen accordingly," explains Bergen. "Throughout the building, industrial or commercial grade equipment is used to ensure long life and low-maintenance operation costs." The concrete block, brick-face exterior is ultra-durable, as is the concrete foundation, supported by piers and a hollowcore floor. Inside, many of the walls are also concrete block. Polished concrete floors are unusual for a school, but in this modern space they work and are low maintenance. Tyndall stone was used for much of the building cladding along with masonry products. Some reclaimed brick from a locally demolished building was salvaged, cleaned and reused in the commons space. As with any construction projects, the team faced some challenges along the way. "Weather, material delivery or nondelivery, supply of manpower and in some cases lack of and/or use of experienced trades posed problems," Bergen explains. "Some of these [challenges] have been overcome by sourcing different vendors and additional trades in order to keep things going." He also credits the provision of a capital project supervisor to keeping the project focused. "This school has been designed and engineered to be a state-of-the-art, sustainable facility to meet the current and future needs of high school education as best we can, knowing what we do today," Bergen explains. "Education technology and curriculum will change more quickly in the future than ever before and we hope we have incorporated enough flexibility to adjust as and when needed, given we are working with a bricks and mortar structure," Bergen concludes. n renderings courtesy Prairie Architects Inc. Northlands Parkway Collegiate Penn-Co Const.indd p80-81Northlands Collegiate.indd 80 13-07-12 1:56 PM

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