So, you want to design a school?
On Oct. 20, Lethbridge School Division is hosting a Design Concept Engagement event to help shape a new K-5 elementary school in the community of Garry Station.
Through limited invitation only, the event will include teams of five (one administrator, two staff members and two parents) hosted at each of the elementary and middle schools in west Lethbridge. Mike Mountain Horse, Dr. Probe, Nicholas Sheran, Coalbanks, G.S. Lakie and Senator Joyce Fairbairn schools will host the event, and each team will be connected by Microsoft TEAMS.
Daniel Heaton, architect and Director of Facility Services for the Division, will guide teams as they work through thinking routines to discuss what they like and do not like about current school spaces. Teams will then review the school site map to discuss area constraints and opportunities and discuss what spaces in a school should be located near or far from each other. All this information will be used by the teams to create design rules.
Once the thinking has been completed, the fun begins with each team becoming the "Architect" by using wooden blocks that represent different spaces in a school to create the "best" school design concept.
Teams will place the blocks on a large map of the school site to shape the design concept of the school. Each team will then present their design ideas. The products of this engagement will supplement a design concept report that has already been prepared by consultants. The consultant report and the information provided by this engagement opportunity will be provided to the design consultants that have been hired by Alberta Infrastructure to work with the Division on the design of the new school.
Background on the new elementary school in Garry Station:
In the spring, the Division received news the new K-5 Elementary School was approved. This school was the number one priority on the Division's Capital Plan to address growth and capacity pressures in west Lethbridge, in particular in the north end of west Lethbridge that currently only has one elementary school.
The newly-announced school will be built with a capacity of 900, but will open in September, 2025 with 610 student spaces with the ability to add 12 modular classrooms. Prior to this announcement, Alberta Education had provided the Division with planning funds to start exploring ideas for the design of the school on the designated school site.
The new school is being considered as part of the Province of Alberta's P3 (Public, Private, Partnerships) initiative for design, bid, build and long-term maintenance of school buildings. The School Division is currently working with Alberta Education, Alberta Infrastructure and design consultants on the design phase of the new school. The Division has a limited window of time to provide an opportunity to engage our staff and parents in Design Concept ideas for the new K-5 elementary school.