As part of Edmonton Public School Board’s quest to provide access to high quality education and buildings, ACI Architecture Inc. was retained as prime architect for the school board’s City Centre Education Project (CCEP). The condition of city centre schools and amenities available did not meet current standards, and existing space utilization was poor. Funding did not allow for all schools to be upgraded, forcing the closure of two of the downtown facilities. As a result, the Duck Inn Daycare and Out-of-School Care Centre needed a new home, after 20 years in the same facility.
The centre director and staff members quickly realized the potential of relocating to a larger facility at one of the modernized schools. Under a tight schedule the architect, CCEP planners and the Centre administration worked closely together to de- sign a new and improved facility, housed in an annex that was once home to shop and home economics classes. The project was fast-tracked due to the narrow construction window, and was further complicated by fundamental mechanical and elec- trical upgrades required to bring the facility up to current code standards and safety requirements.
Emphasis was placed on building an environment that is stimulating for children and well organized for staff. Closed spaces were treated like miniature buildings, producing a scaled down environment. Bright colours were applied throughout, creating a vibrant space, one that would be particularly enjoyable for the daycare and nursery aged children. Shapes were also incor- porated: clouds, puzzle pieces, letters and numbers were scattered about the younger children’s areas, while the out-of- school care area for older children had simpler bubbles and curves. The end result is a delightfully playful place for inner city children and an efficient work environment for the caregivers.