December 2013

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courtesy DA Architects + Planners Queen Mary Elementary School Upgrade by Zuzanna Wodzynska ueen Mary Elementary School in North Vancouver, B.C. has undergone a much needed $19.2 million upgrade. Overlooking Burrard Inlet and Downtown Vancouver, this 1915 heritage building was designed by British-born architect William Charles Frederick Gillam, an expert in school planning. In 2004, following a Ministry of Education seismic review, the school was determined as a higher risk building. However raising funds to undergo a restoration of this magnitude, which included such a significant preservation aspect, delayed the project until the 2010/2011 school year. Initially, Vancouver-based DA Architects + Planners was asked to undertake a study to seismically upgrade this beautiful heritage school. This resulted in a seismic structural upgrade that included the reorganization of the school plan with new partitions/finishes, a new gymnasium and new mechanical and electrical systems.  Retaining the original Edwardian Baroque-style red brick facade, the grand double entry with separate staircases, as well as the central Palladian style window were all instrumental to the renovation. Today, the upgraded Queen Mary Elementary School proudly preserves the historical character of the building. As determined by the project's heritage consultant, McGinn Engineering & Preservation Ltd., exterior trim colours match the original 1915 colours and many of the original elements such the Roman-arched and sash windows, and the Greek and Baroque pediments, have been carefully restored. The entryway's character has also been preserved with the now-symbolic paired entrance for boys and girls. "The original school had the separate boys' and girls' entrances and those carried up all the way to the third floor, so in the new design we created a three-storey atrium space to visually connect all three floors," James Kao, the project's architect with DA Architects + Planners told local media. Natural light now floods the atrium past the reinstalled school totem pole and through previously boarded-over skylights. Instructional areas and the newly expanded 510-square-metre gymnasium – available for school and community use – has also seen an increase in natural light, essential during the bleak Vancouver winters. Other upgrades include a practical multi-purpose room for music, drama, and art, as well as the expanded 478-squaremetre Queen Mary School Neighbourhood Learning Centre that houses the Queen Mary Community Services Association. "The school also has an office for two First Nations support Q 88/    december 2013 p88-91Queeny_NVan Civic_Atta.indd 88 workers employed by the North Vancouver School District," says Victoria Miles, communications manager for the North Vancouver School District #44. During the construction process, structural issues emerged that required more intensive remediation than originally planned. "The existing building did not have a designed lateral restraint system for the exterior brick finishes, which required installation of steel backup wall framing with lateral anchors tying the brick to the new back-up wall framing," says George Unger, project coordinator at Jones Kwong Kishi, structural engineers on the project. As mentioned, previous to the renovation the school did not conform to seismic codes. "The main structural challenges were designing a seismic system incorporated within the existing structural framing grids without location 230 Keith Road West, North Vancouver, B.C. Owner/Developer North Vancouver School District #44 Architect DA Architects + Planners General Contractor DGS Construction Company Ltd. Heritage Consultant McGinn Engineering & Preservation Ltd. Structural Consultant Jones Kwong Kishi Mechanical Consultant MMM Group Ltd. Electrical Consultant Cobalt Engineering Electrical Engineer Jarvis Engineering Consultants Ltd. Landscape Architect Maruyama & Associates Total Construction Cost $19.2 million disrupting the functional classroom layouts and upgrading floor framing to meet present day required loading conditions," adds Unger. To overcome the challenges, the new concrete shear walls attached to existing concrete walls and mass footings were added for the seismic system. Carbon fibre strips were added to slabs to increase lateral diaphragm capacity and increase gravity load capacity. Steel column jackets and beam cladding increased existing concrete column and beam capacities and the school's original steel truss was retained and exposed to view. In addition, the original barrel-vaulted ceiling was replicated at the top of the atrium and inspired new arches in the replacement design. From a structural standpoint, the Queen Mary Elementary School Upgrade stands out from other projects in the area. "The use of stainless steel helical ties to restrain the exterior brick facade presented unique trial and error challenges," says Unger. "Adding steel jackets to the concrete columns and beams to upgrade the existing deficient seismic and gravity load systems to meet present code requirements necessitated continual assessment due to existing site conditions." During construction other deficiencies were identified within the old school building, these included lead-painted features, outdated and inefficient heating and ventilation, as well as water-saturated and friable mortar in stone foundation. Targeting LEED Gold, the new Queen Mary Elementary School's energy-saving features were in the design plan. On-demand ventilation and lighting activated by occupancy sensors and displacement ventilation to reduce electric fan dependency have been installed. "Other standout efficiency features include roofing made of recycled rubber tires, lowflush toilets and storm management through bioswales," adds Miles. Materials recovered during the demolition phase of the project were reused, where possible, in the new school or recycled. Instead of importing new gravel on a road base project, the excess concrete from the site was used. The original fir flooring was also reused to create a decorative feature on the gymnasium wall and retain one of the many heritage aspects of the building. In other areas, resilient flooring made from natural products was used that not only can be recycled, but comes from rapidly renewable materials such as linseed oil, and are low-emitting materials that promote better indoor environmental quality. A number of electrical advancements were also made to Queen Mary Elementary School to remedy the undersized and out-of-date main electrical service. Cobalt Engineering installed wireless technology throughout the building along with built-in projectors for each classroom and a portable mobile computer lab. Today, a new energy dashboard displays energy use and the efficiency of these systems. Heading outside, the work on the school grounds was undertaken by Vancouver-based landscape architect Maruyama & Associates. Tasked with bringing the grounds up to modern design standards, Maruyama & Associates focussed on bringing a fresh new look to the exterior through playground landscaping and restoring and updating play areas that complement the refurbished hard surface areas. Replanted trees and new shrubs now surround the site and complement the Queen Mary Community Garden allotments that lay adjacent to the school. The new Queen Mary Elementary is the seventh full school replacement project in the North Vancouver School District in nine years, and the second heritage school upgrade. The Ministry of Education committed the $15.9 million needed for the rebuilding and seismic upgrade. Funding for the heritage aspect (an additional $3.3 million) was secured through cooperation with the City of North Vancouver. Doors open to staff and students in December, while final site work and landscaping will continue in 2014. n Queen Mary Elementary School Upgrade 13-11-21 3:47 PM

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