The new $18 million Westpark Middle School is on track to open up for fall.
According to Red Deer Public Schools, the school is anticipated to open at capacity for the upcoming school season and be home to 500 middle school students.
The building was designed with a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification, meaning it meets the standards required to be called a Green building.
The building has many unique features, including one of the first solar chimneys to be used in a school in Alberta.
A solar chimney is designed and engineered to use aerodynamics to provide heat and cooling throughout the building, meaning they have a green and much more efficient way to control the temperature of the school.
The building was designed by Berry Architecture, but what makes it unique is the amount of input the student have had on the process. Students were able to pitch any ideas they wanted to see come to life in their new school, and the architecture team along with the builders did their best to make those ideas come to life.
“We can spend so much time talking to clients that we don’t get into the end users. So to expose the kids to learn right from the very start about what goes into a project, how it happens and how it can benefit an entire community was really important to us.” explained George Barry, owner of Barry Architecture.
The building itself will be used as a teaching tool as many of its features such as the elevator and a water fountain will be encased in glass so students can see first-hand how things work.
Another unique element to the school is its open concept design that allows learners and educators to use every area in the building as a classroom.
“A key item about this building is that it is effectively one classroom,” describes Barry. "As soon as students walk into the building they are walking into a big classroom and they are learning and seeing what a building is like and how we can tie their educational components into the building design.”
Outside, there will be a First Nations Metis park that will have spiritual elements associated with First Nations beliefs. There is also an outdoor area for students to socialize before and after class, as well as a ‘solar garden’ where there will be solar ‘trees’ collecting power for the school throughout the day.
The school will also be used by the community, with Red Deer Minor Baseball working from the building as well as using the ball diamond for tournaments throughout the summer months.
Contractors are confident that things will be done in the next three months and educators can expect to move in at the end of July.
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