When the British Columbia Ministry of Education replaced 100-year-old James Park Elementary School in Port Coquitlam as part of the Seismic Mitigation Program, it used as much wood as possible to create a healthy indoor environment and a smaller environmental footprint. The two-storey school meets LEED Gold standard, offers elementary and full-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs, and houses a variety of community-based services. Opened in October 2012, it was designed to meet the needs of students for the next 50 years. To support British Columbia’s Wood First Initiative, the school has a wood roof, wood panelling in the hallways, and wood trim throughout. This provides a relaxed, productive indoor environment, promoting a sense of well-being and creating special places that inspire open thinking and new ideas. Wood-frame buildings protect occupants during earthquakes in many ways. Wood products are lighter than other building products like reinforced concrete, thus putting less stress on the foundation and structure. Wood-frame construction allows the building to flex, absorbing and dissipating the force of the earthquake. In California, most public schools are made with wood, and an assessment after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake found most structural damage was repairable and not life-threatening.
Unique Wood Roof: Elegant And Functional
Not only is the sloped butterfly wood roof pleasing to the eyes, it provides an effective drainage system with reduced silt and pollutants by having a central oversized gutter that directs rainwater to catchment pillars on either end.
Measuring Energy Efficiency
A consumption dashboard near the school’s main entrance illustrates the building’s energy efficiency, and offers green tips and demonstrations. Wood products moderate humidity by absorbing or releasing moisture to maintain equilibrium with the adjacent air – and studies show it can reduce operational costs.
Best Choice For Community Space
Wood is hypo-allergenic and, unlike carpeting, prevents the build-up of dust and is easier to clean; this makes it a great choice for a building like James Park Elementary School, which houses neighbourhood learning centres and is open to community activities after school hours.
Link To Nature: Open And Bright/h4>
James Park Elementary School builds on the tangible connection wood has to nature and the outdoors. Its classrooms all have windows leading to a south-facing Learning Commons, and it has an exterior covered learning patio.