St Josephs High School

    Executive Summary

    St. Joseph High School elevates the learning landscape, broader community, and economic development of Red Deer, both as a product of its completion and as a result of its holistic design process. The new space functions as a cornerstone for the Catholic School Board, and as part of an innovative campus, integrating with public and francophone high schools. In partnership with the City of Red Deer, the school provides major recreational and cultural services, including a large facility for the Red Deer Royals Marching Band, the largest track and field and competitive soccer fields used by the city.

    Working with the Catholic School Board and community groups, specific goals for the new St. Joseph High School were developed to meet the needs of the facilities users. These goals were fundamental to decisions made in successful completion of the school. The goals developed are as follows:

      • Complete the new school on time and on budget;
      • Develop an innovative 21st Century Learning environment that supports student achievement;
      • Develop collaborative environments to support strong community and educational partnerships.

    St. Joseph High School was designed and built digitally, using Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology as the primary source of information for collaboration and communication with all stakeholders, credited with contributing to the delivery of the project 6 months ahead of schedule and $4 million under budget. Stakeholders were united under an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) contract that seeks to make equal partners of all stakeholders, allowing the owner, general contractor, consultants and trades to share control of design decisions. With all partners invested in finding efficient solutions, the creation of a balanced and holistic Building Information Model became central to realizing those aspirations.

    The educational environment is constructed by 6 learning neighbourhoods, each flexibly designed using 21st Century Learning as a guiding concept, and brought together by common learning areas. Flexibility of space within each neighbourhood allows learning areas to be reconfigured to suit teaching and learning styles. Neighbourhoods are connected by maker spaces, dispersed learning tools, help desks, and common areas, creating a spatial flow within the school designed to encourage interaction between students and teachers. The heart of these common areas are the learning stairs, a versatile feature that combines student gathering, circulation, learning and collaboration with opportunity for social and religious event space.

    Design consideration was given to community events which may occur outside of school hours, with key facilities such as the commercial kitchen located along the field house side of the school allowing them to be isolated and kept open even when the school is closed. St. Joseph’s immediate context provides opportunity for a wide range of programmatic synergies; community pathways are integrated into the site plan; expanded change rooms in the field house, developed with funding from the City of Red Deer, accommodate after hours use of the school fields and help to make the facility the preeminent venue for track and field and soccer events in the city.

    The school is built with future expansion in mind. Programmatic adjacencies have been considered to faciltitate integration into new elements of the school once they have been built. Large features such as stairs have been designed and manufactured in collaboration with trades so that they can be resituated as part of an expansion.

    21st Century Learning 

    The educational environment is constructed by 6 learning neighbourhoods, each flexibly designed using 21st Century Learning as a guiding concept, and brought together by common learning areas. Flexibility of space within each neighbourhood allows learning areas to be reconfigured to suit teaching and learning styles. Neighbourhoods are connected by maker spaces, dispersed learning tools, help desks, and common areas, creating a spatial flow within the school designed to encourage interaction between students and teachers. The heart of these common areas are the learning stairs, a versatile feature that combines student gathering, circulation, learning and collaboration with opportunity for social and religious event space.

    Community Partners 

    The development of an extensive education and recreation campus was envisioned opposite of Clearview Market, a major commercial and retail development in North East Red Deer. The campus services beyond the immediate neighbouring communities and is the second education/ recreational hub created in Red Deer. As such it was important to engage well beyond traditional projects. Stakeholders included City of Red Deer, Red Deer Royals Marching band, three different school boards, students, educators, local businesses, and neighbouring residents.

     

    Physical Environment 

    The physical design incorporates simple but elegant materials like corrugated metal, wood finish siding and concrete block to connect to the prairie landscape. Simple forms and details give the building scale and provide natural wayfinding by accenting entries with form and colour.

    The design strategy used large simple masses that could minimize surface area and improve efficiency. Daylight was strategically introduced to each learning neighborhood with a large full height curtain wall in each learning commons. The central common spaces have both large south facing windows and clerestory windows to add generous daylight to the entire interior. The learning resource centre and the CTS programs are distributed around this central two storey space.

    Results and Achievement 

    The creation of a site for advanced educational collaboration between multiple school boards in a campus style setting is a unique legacy of the project. It is an approach that prioritizes students success and looks to create strong collaborative relationships between boards that benefit learners and the community. While St. Joseph High School represents the first element of this campus it fully fulfilled this vision by creating broad community partnerships that saw the development of expanded recreation and cultural amenities that will benefit not only the 1,200 Catholic High School students that occupy the site but also the 3,700 other high school students who will attend the campus in the future.