New Campus Update - Behind the Scenes

New Campus Update - Behind the Scenes

by Bob Pomeroy, Head of Operations

Although we are still a few months away from the start of construction, behind the scenes we have been intensively engaged in planning for the new campus, so I thought a brief update would be in order. 

Detailed Design
Many of you will have attended the information evening back in September, at which architect Kengo Kuma introduced his wonderful basic design for the new campus. Since then, we have been hard at work with the architects, general contractor and our project management advisors on the detailed design of the campus, including such things as the following:

  • Making choices on style, quality and suitability of materials for flooring, walls, doors, ceilings, windows, fixtures, play spaces, field surface and other outdoor areas.
  • Confirming placement of sinks, water fountains, power outlets, network and security infrastructure, air conditioning and ventilation, etc.
  • Selecting lighting fixtures and deciding on standards for brightness and warmth of lighting in every area of the campus.
  • Finalizing design of built-in structures, such as ceiling treatments, staircases, and walkways.
  • Designing built-in furniture in the library, classrooms, admissions and reception areas, and other spaces to meet the needs of those particular spaces.
  • Investigating energy monitoring and solar panel systems.

This has also included the iterative design development for spaces including the library, auditorium, Japan Cultural Program center, and the “Street” in between the two buildings. Although not yet finalized, here are a few designs in progress for some of these spaces. 

A draft perspective drawing showing our new campus layout
A draft perspective drawing of a play area on the roof
A draft perspective drawing of the Japanese style room
A draft perspective drawing of the new auditorium

Change Management
Invariably, as we delve into these details and as preliminary consultations with permitting authorities get underway, we discover adjustments that need to be made to the plans. These range from relatively minor things, such as moving a sink or a door from one place to another, to more involved structural modifications to meet building code requirements. There have been hundreds of changes thus far, and we are carefully evaluating each change, no matter how large or small, to balance those which may incur additional costs with value engineering proposals to reduce costs in other areas. It is a complex but necessary balancing act in order to stay within our overall budget parameters.  

Input and Collaboration
Throughout this process, which has included weekly and often more frequent meetings with the project team, we have been consulting with and getting valuable input from a broad cross-section of staff and students in all sections of the school. One of the recent highlights of this collaborative process was an exhibition of design ideas for various spaces and furnishings by grade 7 design students. This coincided with one of our regular project team meetings, and our architects and builders were able to attend the exhibit and speak with the students about their ideas. They were impressed with the students’ creativity and depth of thinking, and appreciated the insights gained into the type of school environment that our students hope we are able to create.   

grade 7 student presenting a new chair design to architects
grade 7 student presenting a water feature idea to architects

What’s Coming Up
We are currently on track to complete the detailed design plans in April, at which time they will be submitted to relevant authorities to obtain necessary construction permits. In the meantime, informational meetings will be held with neighborhood groups and ground clearing work will begin at the new site later this month in preparation for the start of foundation work in June or July. At the same time, we will continue refining the plans, working in particular on interior design features and selecting loose furniture. We remain on target for completion of construction in late 2021 and opening of the new campus in January 2022.

We will continue to update you periodically as the project progresses.

See our new campus pages for other articles and more information about the campus.