by Kevin Hanvey
The first Tuesday after Labour Day often brings relief to parents, trepidation to returning students and keen anticipation to educators and administrators starting a new school year. This was a particularly busy summer for those of us at Omicron who work in the education sector with three projects reaching completion this summer – Moody Middle School in June, and Vancouver Christian School and White Rock Christian Academy both in August. In addition to three brand new schools welcoming students this September, we’ve been busy with new projects too. Here’s a short summary of what’s been happening with our education projects.
Newly Completed Projects
Moody Middle School, Port Moody
Moody Middle School is a replacement middle school in Port Moody that started life under Grant and Sinclair Architects but was completed by Omicron. Moody Middle School has a focus on the Arts and has advanced Music, Visual Arts, Computer and Maker programs. Omicron provided architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering services to this project.
White Rock Christian Academy (Phase 1), Surrey
White Rock Christian Academy is a new junior school wing which is the first phase of (up to) 4 total phases over the next number of years. In addition to classroom space for Kindergarten through Grade 5, the new wing also features spaces for the enjoyment of the whole school community in Art / Maker labs and a band room. The classrooms are organized around a central atrium that provides a mix zone for all of the school community in support of International Baccalaureate teaching principles. Omicron provided architecture, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering services.
Vancouver Christian School, Vancouver
Vancouver Christian School is a new K-12 school that replaces an existing elementary school on the same site. The biggest challenge from a design perspective was (almost) doubling the size of the existing facility while solving the existing parking problems on a very constrained site of less than one hectare. The project included two gyms, science labs, band room, library and separate learning communities for junior, middle and senior schools. Omicron provided architectural services.
Aspengrove Athletics Building, Lantzville (Nanaimo)
This is the first phase of a multi-year redevelopment program on their site to support their expanding school population. Aspengrove is a young school which – to date – has operated out of temporary modular structures. This first phase building provides much needed permanent athletic space with the addition of two flexible classrooms for the use of the entire school. The project site slopes steeply from north to south and the gym is partially below grade with level access to playing fields from the gym level. Aspengrove has an ambitious sustainability agenda and we are planning to provide photo-voltaic panels on the roof in sufficient quantity to offset the electrical energy demands of the building over the course of the year. Omicron is providing architecture, mechanical and electrical engineering services to the project.
Southpointe Academy, Tsawwassen
Southpointe Academy is a K-12 school located in Tsawwassen that Omicron designed and built between 2008-2011. The building featured a west-facing roof terrace that over several years of occupancy was found to be used only intermittently. In 2015, Omicron was approached again by Southpointe to explore the possibility of enclosing the deck to provide additional floor area. Approval was secured from the Corporation of Delta for this addition in 2016, and we are now preparing Building Permit and Construction Documents for a 4,000 sq.ft. addition to the building and another 3,500 sq.ft. of renovation of the existing fourth floor to provide cafeteria, drama and fitness facilities. Omicron is providing architecture, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as construction management services to the project.
School District 41 (Burnaby) Board Office, Burnaby
The future Board Office for the Burnaby School District involves the heritage restoration of a 1914 wood-framed elementary school – Schou (pronounced Skow). Working with Don Luxton as our heritage consultant, we will restore period finishes and windows to the building shell and provide a contemporary interior to suit the client’s program. As the existing building is 12,000 sq.ft. and the client’s program for the Board Office is 25,000 sq.ft., we are adding a contemporary annex adjacent to the heritage building which is complementary in terms of material palette and scale, but is a resolutely contemporary architectural intervention. Omicron is providing architecture, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering as well as interior design / programming services to the project.