This project included the design, build, finance and maintenance (DBFM) of nine schools in Edmonton and nine schools in Calgary, collectively referred to as the Alberta Schools Alternative Procurement (ASAP). The schools became available for students in September 2010. This is the largest P3 schools project undertaken in Alberta.
The schools are built to provincial standards and use a standard core design. The permanent core building with the essential elements of a school are complemented by state-of-the art, steel-framed modular classrooms that can be added or removed as required. The schools are built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standards. Only new schools are included in the project, which consists of K-4, K-6 and K-9 school configurations.
ACI Architecture Inc. in Joint Venture with Zeidler Partnership Architects was hired as the bridging Prime Consultant. With the Design Development report being completed, our role as the bridging consultant was to review the designs, collaborate with the 4 school boards involved: Edmonton Catholic, Edmonton Public, Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic. After discussions with the boards, recommendations for revisions and interior fit-up changes to suit their respective needs were completed in all 18 schools. This review process involved identifying the individual boards requirements, assessing the functions for each area of the school and incorporating their specialty needs, functionally as well as operationally. We were then able to review the program requirements, compare to the trends identified by the school boards, and assess the functionality of each department. There were constraints in design including fixed exterior walls, resulting in only interior fit-up changes being acceptable.
These constraints meant that the adaptive changes made by each board needed to be inventive in order to achieve the desired outcome. Additional work required that all 18 schools had to be sited on their allocated properties. Since each of the buildings was predesigned without a full understanding of the restrictions of the sites, the building designs did not always lend themselves to the sites configuration. Many core designs had to be angled or mirrored to suit parking, street access, student loading and drop off zones, while maximizing playing fields and green space.
Our involvement included creating the prescriptive portion of the Schedule 18, identifying each of the individual rooms specific requirements. It was important for the rooms to be broken out separately for each school board to address the varying needs of each user group. We, alongside our consultants, were involved in writing the performance specifications to ensure that the P3 proponents would have a common set of standards identifying the minimum construction requirements to be achieved. ACI was employed as a resource to review innovative design approaches, material change requests as well as clarifying any questions from the proponents. During the construction stage we were involved as an overseer, to review shop drawings and the current construction standards to ensure conformance to ASAP requirements.