October 2016

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86 | OCTOBER 2016 École Rivière Rouge PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY PRAIRIE ARCHITECTS INC. École Rivière Rouge by LAURIE JONES R arely can an elementary school say that they have a frog habitat for study purposes on site, flooring in the entry way that celebrates the meeting of the famous Red and Assiniboine Rivers or stone walls with embedded prehistoric fossils . . . but such is the case for École Rivière Rouge in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This Kindergarten to Grade 5 new immersion elementary school is located in a fast growing school division in the city with continuing popularity for French immersion. "It's a second elementary school in the neighbourhood so now we will have an English track and an immersion school, and they are fairly close together," says Brian O'Leary, superintendent for the Seven Oaks School Division. "École Rivière Rouge sits on land that is historically important because it was part of the early Red River settlement. It's close to one of the oldest churches in the area and near the site of the first post-secondary college facility in the province," he says. O'Leary adds that a living historical lesson that was intentionally incorporated into the school represents the lengthy history of both the settlement and pre-contact. The design team spent a good deal of time talking to teachers to find out what they needed in their classroom space, and options that would best suit the students. "It's more than four square walls," says O'Leary. "We put a lot of work into the site plan and design with more trees, plantings and hills. There is also a reclaimed marsh area that is part of the schoolyard and extends around a corner into the residential community. We also have several outdoor classroom opportunities." Gary Hawthorne, architect with Prairie Architects Inc., says classrooms are broken up into pods, each with a shared common space. "These multipurpose spaces open to the corridor and facilitate collaborative learning opportunities," he says. "We've also got glazing above the cubbies that line the corridors so you can see from the classroom into the corridor and vice versa. This also lets the natural light through giving it an open feel." The two-storey building features a bridge across the entry commons area at the second floor level. "In designing the school as a tool for learning, the building integrates sections with cutaways so students can see the actual tubing of the infloor heating, elements that go into the exterior wall and hollowcore concrete slab edges are exposed so people can see the structure," says Hawthorne. École Rivière Rouge is fully clad with brick veneer and Tyndall limestone, which is native to the area. On the exterior walls, Hawthorne says another history lesson was intentionally designed into the structure. "Carved into Tyndall Stone bands is an historic record of the Red River flood levels that happened over the years, which is an interesting piece for both students and anyone who comes to the school." He adds that last winter they took several students to the local quarry to choose stones with fossils. That stone is now a feature element around the exterior of the gym. Bruce Dixon, landscape architect with HTFC Planning & Design, says the main thing they are excited about is the extensive outdoor learning environment. "The planting schemes in four feature gardens each flourish at a different time of the year. This provides an educational connection to the changing seasons for children and visitors experiencing these spaces," he explains. "Other features include a weather station with a wind sock, barometer and a rain gauge so students can learn about the environment and weather systems." Built to LEED Gold standards, École Rivière Rouge is equipped with a geothermal ground loop heating system that allows for all usable floor space to have infloor heating. "The ground loop system is installed 20-feet below grade under the soccer fields, making that a multipurpose area," says Grant Clegg, project manager, Parkwest Projects Ltd. "The school is also equipped with plug-in stations for electric cars and the building is equipped with motion sensors so lights only come on when there is activity in the area, saving energy when rooms are not in use." He adds that two water reservoirs in the utilidor, a type of basement, collect rainwater to be used as non-potable water in washroom facilities, excluding sinks. "In creating the utilidor, we saved the excavated material to reuse on site for berms," says Clegg. Jon Reid, structural engineer, Wolfrom Engineering Ltd., says the exposure, or cutaways to the building elements, is a progressive teaching element. "This lets the students see what it takes to not only build the structure but also support daily interactions in the building," he explains. "Some are more blatant than others, but since the students are going to be there over a number of years, the hope is that their understanding of the building will progress along with their educational development." Craig Watson, project manager, WSP/MMM Group says, "In order to maximize efficiency and maintain performance of the geoexchange borefield, the design included a careful review of the seasonal energy flows to ensure a balanced system. The long, cold, Manitoba winter creates an imbalance in the heating demand which was countered with a pair of electric boilers," he says. "A combination of 100 percent fresh outside air, heat recovery, chilled beams and radiant infloor heating make up the remainder of the mechanical system." The electrical component of the school featured LEED compliant systems such as exterior lighting using LED technology. "This means all light is directed toward the ground and reduces light spill and glare onto the adjacent residential properties," says Tim Dietrich, electrical project manager, WSP/MMM Group. A LOCATION 55 Swinford Way, Winnipeg, Manitoba OWNER/DEVELOPER Seven Oaks School Division ARCHITECT Prairie Architects Inc. GENERAL CONTRACTOR Parkwest Projects Ltd. STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT Wolfrom Engineering Ltd. MECHANICAL/ELECTRICAL/ CIVIL CONSULTANT WSP/MMM Group Ltd. LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT HTFC Planning & Design TOTAL SIZE 51,562 square feet TOTAL COST $15 million PrairieArchitects.indd RomaMasonry.indd

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