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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 3 | 95 St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School ST. LORENZO RUIZ MIDDLE SCHOOL by ROBIN BRUNET LOCATION 150 Kingston Drive, Red Deer, Alberta OWNER /DEVELOPER Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools ARCHITECT Group2 Architecture Interior Design Ltd. GENER AL CONTR ACTOR Clark Builders STRUCTUR AL CONSULTANT RJC Consulting MECHANICAL /ELECTRICAL / LEED CONSULTANT WSP Canada TOTAL SIZE 6,640 square metres TOTAL COST $28.2 million P H OTO G R A P H Y CO U RT E S Y R ED D EER C AT H O L I C R EG I O N A L S C H O O L S; R EN D ER I N GS CO U RT E S Y G RO U P 2 A RC H I T EC T U R E I N T ER I O R D E S I G N LT D. T he Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) model is well known for involving key parties in the design and construction aspects of a project under a single agreement, thus maximizing efficiencies and reducing waste. Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools had used it success- fully on three of its facilities, so when a new middle school was needed to serve a growing population, IPD was the favoured delivery methodology. St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School was developed to accommodate up to 735 students in grades 6 to 9. The $28.2-million facility is located on a greenfield site in Kentwood, and while the narrow site dictated the overall massing of the facility, ambi- tious programming – as well as many pleasing architectural features – arose from extensive consulta- tion with stakeholders beginning in January of 2021. "Extensive infor- mation was gathered from staff and stakeholders about what they wanted and didn't want," says Rod Steeves, secretary-treasurer at Red Deer Catholic Regional Division No. 39. Jenna Kemp, intern architect at Group2 Architecture Interior Design Ltd., says, "We chose not to fully embrace 21st century learning but instead went with closed class- rooms combined with open support spaces. This option would support future growth in enrolments." Geotechnical testing was com- pleted in early 2021 to understand site conditions, and the results were used in optimizing layout. A subse- quent traffic assessment resulted in the decision to create a bus loop, which would make school pick-ups/ drop-offs safer for students and staff. St. Lorenzo Ruiz was organized into clusters of programs located at the north end (wood shop, a full band program, a dance/art component connected to the gym, and a com- puter gaming room). "Grades 8 and 9 were located on the bottom floor and grades 6 to 7 on the next level, both on the south side of the building," Kemp says. "In the centre of the school are the gathering spaces, which allowed us to create two-storey volumes with lots of glazing on the upper level." Wood as an architectural detail was used sparingly but to great effect. "There is a wood appear- ance at each entrance, and a wood wall and ceiling in the small chapel in the main gathering area," Kemp says. "Wood was also used for dis- play cases on the second level." In addition to creating an exterior mid century modern look with pops of colour, colour was also used for way- finding. "Dark teal was selected for the main gathering area, programs such as the wood shop and band were designated yellow, and two dif- ferent colours were selected for the classrooms on the two different lev- els, with the staircases co-ordinated with those colours," Kemp explains. LEED Silver standards were achieved in a variety of ways, includ- ing HVAC efficiencies as well as a roof covered with photovol- taic panels, enough to power the entire school on sunny days. The IPD process led to Kurt Lowe, technologist at Group2, setting up an office on site so that when issues arose they could be dealt with imme- diately. Among other benefits, this degree of collaboration enabled the design/production team to bring costs down. One example was the struc- tural steel contractor and engineer working closely with the supplier to modify the design from an open web steel joist to avoid costly material and long delivery times. The struc- tural team designed the floor and roof decks to overlap in the corridors, eliminating beams and providing mechanical and electrical addi- tional space for duct co-ordination. Ground broke on the project in the spring of 2022. "We had plenty of laydown space but crew park- ing was a constant challenge as were truck deliveries, given that this is a residential neighbour- hood," says Aaron Giebelhaus, project manager, Clark Builders. Soil removal and replacement was required due to the unexpected presence of unsuitable B Horizon material. "After that the foun- dations were constructed in phases using Continuous Flight Auger piles," Giebelhaus says. Construction was structural steel frame above slab-on-grade, with structural masonry in the gym, stair- well, and elevators. Materials were selected for resiliency through- out, including split face block veneer lining the lower exterior of the build- ing, wall tiles in the classrooms, and masonry in the corridors. Giebelhaus praises the extent to which the IPD method benefit- ted this project. "We only had a 15 month timeframe to get every- thing done, and IPD allowed us to assess all budget components and use LEAN construction processes." As of July, Rob Coumont, princi- pal of St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School, was looking forward to a fall opening. "The architects and builders were fan- tastic and the spirit of collaboration resulted in a school that is both mod- ern and traditional in appearance, filled with natural light and design features. We couldn't be happier." A

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