John A. McDougall School

Project Details

As part of the Edmonton Public School Board’s City Centre Project, John A. McDougall School was one of the historical buildings slated for modernization. A large portion of the budget for the project was allocated towards the upgrade of the building’s outdated mechanical and electrical systems.

In order to accommodate new programmed space for the school a feasibility study of the school functions needed to be conducted. The study involved meeting with the principal, and vice principal and analyzing the existing functions of the areas and formulating a program for the new spaces.

The entire basement level has been reclaimed and turned into a user-friendly environment. The once unused shower and locker rooms have been converted into art and music rooms. The previous lunchroom was also remodeled to include a new cooking facility that doubles as teaching space. The main and second floors of the project included modernization of existing washrooms, upgrades in lighting and a new general office to greet children, staff and visitors.

The administration offices, previously hidden from visitors, were relocated opposite the main entry stairs in a more prominent position. From this more centralized reception space, administrative staff can can supervise students and visitors using the entrance, The new glazed screen to the administration office was designed to evoke the 1915 styling and architecture of the original school.

It was through thorough consultation with stakeholders, staff and students that the final result is a true modernization, which embellishes the historic character of the building.


The final phase of the design was the addition of a four-storey elevator shaft and roof-top observatory that houses the City Centre’s only teaching space dedicated to the study of the stars. The observatory, equipped with a 200mm astronomical; telescope, complemented an adjacent classroom designed for science activities with a focus on studying the solar system. This specialized facility was designed to be a shared use amenity with other City Centre schools.