A PLACE OF 21ST CENTURY LEARNING
INNOVATING NEW APPROACHES TO EDUCATING CHILDREN
Connecting with Nature
Grandview Heights Secondary School (GHSS) is a $38 million, three-storey school with a capacity of up to 1,500 students, situated in South Surrey. The project is currently in the construction phase. Although the school is relatively large, its impact on the environment will be minimal, as CHPA has designed its footprint to be as controlled as possible. Key design drivers that have been incorporated in the project include 21st Century Learning, affordability, adaptability, accessibility, and durability. Extensive landscaping on the exterior of the facility is planned, incorporating many different hard and soft features. Further, the project has been designed such that it will foster a connection with adjacent greenspace.
The features of this new school are numerous, and include non-combustible construction, a purpose-built black-box theatre, rotunda, open concept learning commons, two gymnasiums, along with maker spaces with cutting-edge fabrication technologies. The learning studios are grouped into pod-style ‘communities’, with associated labs and collaborative spaces. The project will also include a lobby, gathering hall, multi-purpose rooms, a dance studio that will open out onto a plaza, and a small playground area for the community.
New Approaches to Learning
CHPA, as an integral member of a multi-disciplinary team, collaborated with the client (School District No. 36 – Surrey) throughout the design process to ensure its varied objectives were addressed. Working with BC’s biggest school district, CHPA has maintained close and regular communication with the client ensuring that virtually all its goals will be incorporated in the ultimate design. Through the design process, CHPA is working with the school district’s personnel and design staff to innovate new approaches to learning, as well as methods of constructing and designing buildings tailored to children’s learning, while at the same time fostering a functional connection to the community. CHPA also undertook a series of workshops with the district, which included its facilities staff, design staff, principals, and planners. The firm participated in open houses during which the community had the opportunity to provide its input on the new GHSS project. CHPA’s engagement of stakeholders ensured that GHSS’s design, constructibility, and usability were optimized.
GHSS will also incorporate the latest 21st century trends in educational environments, enabling its students to acquire the learning and innovation skills and knowledge to succeed in work, life, and citizenship as they prepare for the increasingly complex life and work environments of the 21st century. Specifically, CHPA’s design for the new school addresses the fundamental skills of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
CHPA has overcome numerous challenges to maintain the schedule and budget. In particular, the size and the scale of the project, coupled with the intricacies of the site itself, presented some hurdles, which CHPA overcame with focused planning and communication. Another significant challenge involves the site which is adjacent to a new community centre and a large pool, and accordingly these facilities need to communicate and work together, and CHPA has facilitated the necessary communication, incorporating this objective in its project planning and methodology.