A detailed study was required for the existing Dr. Karl A. Clark School for the Fort McMurray Public School Board. The Board requested that all possible options be investigated to upgrade the school and accommodate the growing student enrollment.
An occupancy assessment for Dr. Clark School was completed, with factors such as current and future enrollment, site issues, supported funding, and adaptability of the existing school being reviewed. Health and safety, security, air infiltration, wayfinding and signage, temperature and air circulation were also part of the evaluation. Several options were prepared, ranging from extensive remodeling of the existing facility, to new construction on the same site. Concepts and budgets were pre- pared for each option for consideration by the Fort McMurray Public School Board and Alberta Infrastructure. The preferred option was a renovation to the existing school and addition of a substantial annex with a large Gymnasium, associated sup- port space and the enclosing of a courtyard to create a multipurpose room.
The process involved working closely with staff, parents, students and community to find out what direction and ideas they wanted to incorporate in the new design. A Value Management exercise was conducted concurrently with the design to en- sure that the most viable economic decisions were made. Budget costing was provided for each option at each stage of concept development.
The project presented considerable challenges due to code and structural deficiencies in the existing building and a restricted site area for the new addition and play areas. The old gymnasium was converted into kindergarten classrooms with a shared central common space. Other features included breakout rooms, a new multipurpose room, computer labs and an enlarged library accessible by all grades.
The Dr. Clark School was a complex project which presented a wide range of challenges for the design team as it required continual address of hidden or unforeseen building deficiencies. The final product was completed on budget and on schedule, with all obstacles resolved, resulting in a facility that is a source of pride for all those involved.