Chi­nook’s pub­lic meet­ing sketches po­ten­tial fea­tures for new Pre-K to Grade 8 school

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS - ELISABETHD­OWSON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The first pub­lic meet­ing to dis­cuss po­ten­tial de­sign fea­tures for the new PreKinder­garten to Grade 8 pub­lic school in Swift Cur­rent drew about six par­ents, stake­hold­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers in ad­di­tion to sev­eral Chi­nook School Divi­sion Board mem­bers, ad­min­is­tra­tive staff, the ar­chi­tec­tural team and me­dia.

Charles Olfert, ar­chi­tect with aodbt ar­chi­tec­ture + in­te­rior de­sign, nar­rated a slideshow his­tory of ed­u­ca­tional ar­chi­tec­ture dat­ing back to an­cient Greece be­fore fast­for­ward­ing to the stately brick school era of the early 1900s.

Af­ter dis­cussing the changes in ar­chi­tec­ture that were driven first by the aus­ter­ity of two world wars and then eco­nomic re­cov­ery in the 1950s, echoed “in­sti­tu­tional” char­ac­ter­is­tics and bright colours through the 1980s, fea­tured stu­dent com­mon ar­eas and nat­u­ral light through the 1990s, and emerged as multi-level, com­mu­nity-in­te­grated and joint projects that cel­e­brated stu­dent mo­bil­ity with the ad­vent of lap­top com­put­ers be­gin­ning in 2000, Olfert then pre­sented some of the ed­u­ca­tional de­signs and projects aodbt has com­pleted.

Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign (LEED) con­sul­tant with aodbt, Mitch Stro­cen, dis­cussed po­ten­tial fea­tures of form and en­gi­neer­ing that transform iden­ti­fied needs into build­ings that be­come a “func­tional, in­spir­ing, efficient and sus­tain­able” con­junc­tion of many unique el­e­ments.

Cur­rent con­sid­er­a­tions in­clude 50 child-care spaces in ad­di­tion to Pre-Kinder­garten to Grade 8 fa­cil­i­ties, in­no­va­tive and in­te­grated ar­eas for re­cre­ation and study that in­cor­po­rate nat­u­ral ar­eas and el­e­ments, pos­si­bly a per­form­ing arts cen­tre in part­ner­ship with the com­mu­nity, and flex­i­ble fea­tures that serve mul­ti­ple func­tions, such as phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion tracks that are also na­ture trails, park­ing ar­eas that can host farm­ers’ mar­kets on week­ends, or com­mu­nity gar­dens that cre­ate out­door learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

En­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors such as pre­vail­ing winds, site drainage and storm wa­ter catch­ment will in­flu­ence the lo­ca­tion of sports fa­cil­i­ties, re­cre­ation ar­eas and bus­ing drop-off zones that min­i­mize con­ges­tion. Con­tribut­ing to sus­tain­abil­ity are fea­tures that might in­clude the use of re­new­able en­ergy sources, pas­sive so­lar sys­tems, waste re­duc­tion ini­tia­tives and al­low for build­ing re-use in the fu­ture.

On the “wants” list for some of the par­ents were walk­ing and bike paths and age ap­pro­pri­ate play ar­eas on the grounds, no dan­ger­ous ma­te­ri­als used in con­struc­tion rel­a­tive to sus­tain­abil­ity con­sid­er­a­tions and, in the school it­self, com­mon ar­eas in hall­ways and eye-level win­dows that open.

Mem­bers of the Chi­nook School Divi­sion Board met with ar­chi­tect Charles Olfert, cen­tre, par­ents, teach­ers and other stake­hold­ers at Swift Cur­rent Comp. on June 20.

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