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Building Lessons: New buildings, new spaces, new ideas for Alberta schools

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  • Building Lessons: New buildings, new spaces, new ideas for Alberta schools

    Building Lessons: New buildings, new spaces, new ideas for Alberta schools

    ALEXANDRA ZABJEK, EDMONTON JOURNAL


    edmjournal.com

    The slate of new schools scheduled to open in Edmonton next fall will be home to generations of students. The school designs will affect how a neighbourhood looks and how children learn for decades to come.

    Building a new school in Alberta takes about 18 months, with at least another year of planning before a hammer even hits a nail. Making it all work is a complicated — sometimes delicate — partnership between municipal, provincial and school district governments.

    Lorne Parker, executive director of infrastructure for Edmonton Public Schools, and Catherine Nissen, assistant superintendent of facility services at Edmonton Catholic Schools, talk about the construction.

    http://edmontonjournal.com/news/loca...lberta-schools


    Ottawa-Edmonton-Vancouver-Edmonton

  • #2
    Apparently my old high school is being replaced which is cool. Sadly the new location proposed by the former minister of education Johnson is terrible and the whole community seems to think he pushed for the location because it is close to his new acreage instead of anything useful in the community or the homes of other students. Oh well. I haven't been a student there in 15 years.

    Comment


    • #3


      Are you from Athabasca etown ?

      Top_Dawg poked back a ton of beer at the Union.

      What a blast from the past.

      Great times.

      Comment


      • #4
        From the graphic it appears that the lesson is that you need a parking lot larger than the building for a facility that's designed to educate people too young to drive.

        Comment


        • #5
          ^otherwise, you have lots of cars parked on streets, every day when picking up / dropping off, and for every school event (sports, plays, bands, etc.). Not ideal, but reality I guess, this is probably considered safer for kids walking to the school or biking, that don't have to navigate all those cars dobule parking to "drop off".

          The strip with the angled parking and in-line is interesting - my last job had an exact same strip in front of warehouse, must be an efficient design.
          Last edited by moahunter; 24-09-2015, 09:45 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Nah, that strip is just what fit without taking so much room that that the school itself wouldn't fit. It's slightly easier for drivers to get into and out of parking like that, but it takes far more room per stall than "normal" 90degree parking.

            Safer for the kids walking would mean actually limiting Car access to the school, and providing bike paths and sidewalks that aren't right up against the road, with curb extensions at crosswalks.

            The private property storage area should be located at the back, past the playground and the sports fields.

            It's way, way, waaaaaaaay more important that play spaces be located very close to the school than it is to keep teacher parking right up front.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by highlander View Post
              From the graphic it appears that the lesson is that you need a parking lot larger than the building for a facility that's designed to educate people too young to drive.

              My neighbourhood school is older than the coliseum (the old arena) yet there are no plans to replace it. Think about that. In the case of my neighbourhood school, it's likely going to be there for several more decades with no great public outcry and design effort to rip it down and build a grand new structure. (Seems that our entertainment needs trump far higher local / grass roots needs.) Why on earth would anyone just want to slap up a bunch of institutional boxes without much thought as to their design or integration into their communities. Each school is a huge opportunity to build community, save other resources, prevent wasteful redundancy, reflect community values, etc. Moreover there are thousands of examples to draw on around the country of schools not built in a mad rush to meet the demand but instead thoughtfully built to meet the community standards. The fact that they exist and the fact that great ideas are subject to competitive expropriation (we can quickly steal the best of the best ideas) allows for considerable time savings to compensate for our province's lack foresight and imagination to date. To instead impose on communities top-down design is ludicrous.

              As far as the school pictured above...

              That plan posted above seems to lack safe and efficient bus and parent drop off routes for students and team members.

              The building looks nice and by the orientation of the flag, the front door does seem to be well protected from the prevailing winds and blowing snow which is wise and energy efficient.

              Gymnasium at the back - opposite the playing fields but does appear to require front of school access and so the school may have to have personnel on site to unlock and lock the front doors and clean the entrance floors on rainy days? "Rentals" seem to be centrally controlled/booked and so schools then deal with the fallout.

              Worse, schools are often nonsensically set back from the street or moved away from commercial areas significant degrading after-hours, multipurpose opportunities. Green space can be wonderful but its often just slapped down around a building to improve perspective on the architects creation, without thought as to natural orientation, traffic flow (foot traffic) and improved building integration with the neighbouring community.

              Too bad audience seating for the sports fields (especially for small town schools) doesn't seem to be incorporated into the roof or side of the building. So as is the case everywhere, additional very expensive extruded aluminum seating to be installed around the sports field. A stepped up roof over some sunken classrooms on the back side might create far improved viewing opportunities and lower cost and integration into the school. Or public seating could be incorporated to look either over the gymnasium or out over the playing field depending on the season and activities. This then creates the opportunity for a community to host other team events or in the case of small towns, possibly avoid the cost of redundant facilities. (Basically, in small town Alberta why can't schools also become Rec-Centres / Sportsplexes?)

              No significant grassy, protected breakout areas outside the school for classes to be held outdoors.

              Could use some solar lighting (side or sky lighting) for the gymnasium - though maybe the windowless school with efficient LED lighting is the way of the future.

              In my experience, a flat roof is incredibly expense to reroof and leaves little cheap options for improving the insulation. Moreover maybe solar panels will provide much power to schools - hence orientation and roofing still really matters.

              A sloped roof with standing seam metal roofing (maybe with a flat roof perimeter) might reduce long term costs and keep the air clean for future students (I still remember the stench of tar as my schools were re-roofed. That has to be considered pollution affecting interior air quality these days.)

              The stated expandability for portables or whatever they are called isn't clear. Schools need to be designed for variable populations and not projected peak demand that may prove too high or too low. So a long term core structure design should efficiently service modular additions that will come and go and shouldn't be there for decades if the sizing is done right from the start.

              Bike racks at the front door where kids race across the entry space knocking over teachers. Yeah right. They will be ripped out by the admin.

              Snow removal? Looks like an expensive parking lot to clear. Can snow be plugged up or does it require trucking away? More money sucked out of the teaching budget.

              ...

              Innovative school design by Chartier-Delix architects
              Chartier-Delix architects have just won the competition to design a primary school and sport hall in Boulogne, Billancourt. Their proposal is very innovative and daring but it has some flaws that we’re going to discuss together. Overall, the project is very impressive as it attempts to create a very interesting combination between a public gymnasium and a school that are brought together and covered with a living shell.




              http://www.homedit.com/innovative-sc...ix-architects/


              Note bus access...


              http://www.wakefieldalumni.org/class...ielddesign.jpg

              Several nice aspects to this one..

              http://di.dorsch.de/typo3temp/pics/N...865187f2ef.jpg
              Last edited by KC; 24-09-2015, 10:41 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                ^Dozens of that school model, and that parking lot design, have already been built.

                Edmonton:

                https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                I could do the same in Calgary.

                And just for the ones I know where they are, cause I was on the design team in 2008. The modern versions are being built much the same design, with mostly interior tweaks.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Channing View Post
                  ^Dozens of that school model, and that parking lot design, have already been built.

                  Edmonton:

                  https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                  https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                  https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                  https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                  https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                  https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                  I could do the same in Calgary.

                  And just for the ones I know where they are, cause I was on the design team in 2008. The modern versions are being built much the same design, with mostly interior tweaks.
                  So do they work? Have follow up surveys and reviews indicated if any changes are in order?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Top_Dawg View Post


                    Are you from Athabasca etown ?

                    Top_Dawg poked back a ton of beer at the Union.

                    What a blast from the past.

                    Great times.
                    I was born and raised there, just moved to post secondary 4 years ago. By the sounds of it, does seem like he/she is referring to the replacement high school there.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KC View Post
                      Originally posted by Channing View Post
                      ^Dozens of that school model, and that parking lot design, have already been built.

                      Edmonton:

                      https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                      https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                      https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                      https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                      https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                      https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Edm...f6155d!6m1!1e1

                      I could do the same in Calgary.

                      And just for the ones I know where they are, cause I was on the design team in 2008. The modern versions are being built much the same design, with mostly interior tweaks.
                      So do they work? Have follow up surveys and reviews indicated if any changes are in order?
                      I don't know? They're still building them obviously, so someone does. Maybe not Vivian Manasc, but she's an architect, not the end client. I WOULD be curious to know what the various users think. Schoolboards, custodial staff, teachers, students.

                      I'm sure more money could be better, site specific schools. But at what cost? The schools are already semi-customized on the interiors.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hmmm how did the mature good schools do in 60's and 70's? I always prefer an collector adjacent school with drop off and parking on side and narrow roads to cross. I've lived in nature hoods all my life; went to Avonmore, Kenilworth, and Wagner for school and found them delightedly perfect for traffic, bus, and drop off. What happened? Are we that auto- centric?

                        Was waiting for this article, always like them and always like citizens/journalism is interested
                        Live and love... your neighbourhood.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Prefer multimodal schools tho. Community hall within, seniors access, public library, and some Rec facility. Older hoods have thus even my new hood of Malmo. It's a good mix
                          Live and love... your neighbourhood.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by highlander View Post
                            Nah, that strip is just what fit without taking so much room that that the school itself wouldn't fit. It's slightly easier for drivers to get into and out of parking like that, but it takes far more room per stall than "normal" 90degree parking.

                            Safer for the kids walking would mean actually limiting Car access to the school, and providing bike paths and sidewalks that aren't right up against the road, with curb extensions at crosswalks.

                            The private property storage area should be located at the back, past the playground and the sports fields.

                            It's way, way, waaaaaaaay more important that play spaces be located very close to the school than it is to keep teacher parking right up front.
                            The play area is immediately behind the school, it couldn't possibly be any closer.
                            With schools being more specialized (ie french immersion) it seems most kids get driven to school. Have you seen a school lately with anymore than half a dozen bikes parked at it?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Top_Dawg View Post


                              Are you from Athabasca etown ?

                              Top_Dawg poked back a ton of beer at the Union.

                              What a blast from the past.

                              Great times.
                              Sure am. Circa when? When it was worse than any of Edmonton's crappy rooming house/hotels in the Quarters? Or since it has had new owners and all the paint removed from the brick exterior over the last 12 years or so? The Union has quite the history, and it was a rough joint for a long time.

                              Comment

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