When the B.C. government announced it would fund full day kindergarten across the province, school districts faced a challenge: where to put all the new students. With less than two years to design and build new classrooms, the Ministry of Education looked to Shelter Industries for an innovative solution. Shelter responded with a wood-based, modular classroom designed to meet the needs of five-year olds and support the Wood First Act. Centralized manufacturing would be used to speed up delivery and ensure high quality standards. As wood-frame construction was used to build the classrooms, wood panelling, flooring and cabinetry were manufactured separately. On-time delivery meant that each building could be finished without delay, transported to school sites across the province, and installed on-site quickly. The approach met or surpassed all of its quality and delivery goals. In total, 138 classrooms were delivered to 25 school districts in less than a year. Each modular classroom has custom-designed cabinetry, with wooden cubby holes and benches for the young students. High, colourful ceilings and windows provide plenty of natural light and cross-ventilation. The modular classrooms can be adapted to meet local needs, including installation on temporary or permanent foundations, clustering in groups of two, three or four units, or erected as a stand-alone classroom.
SAFE AND COMFORTABLE
Massive glulam beams provide protection in the event of heavy snow loads, winds or earthquakes, and seven-inch insulation makes them suitable for any location in British Columbia. Wood is hypo-allergenic and, unlike carpeting, prevents the build-up of dust and is easier to clean.
STANDARDIZED DESIGN: MORE EFFICIENT
Standardized design and centralized procurement reduced building costs by 20 per cent. Manufacturing was faster because it avoided weather delays and the need to wait for foundations. All the classrooms were built in Kelowna and Aldergrove, creating seven months of full-time employment for 180 B.C. workers.
VERSATILE AND DURABLE: OPTIMUM FLEXIBILITY
The classrooms have a life expectancy of 40 years, which is more than twice that of traditional portables. They can be relocated, clustered in groups, and adapted to meet the needs of students from K to 7.
LINK TO NATURE: POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT
Wood provides productive and high-quality learning environments for teachers and students. Research by the University of British Columbia and FPInnovations concludes that wood interiors reduce stress.
“We find the modular units to create an excellent learning environment. They are self-contained, bright and airy, and comfortable for both students and teachers”.
Ivano Cecchini, Principal, Facilities Initiatives
School District 43