Owner: Greater Essex County District School Board
Location: Tecumseh, Ontario
Size: 142,500 sf
Tecumseh Vista Academy was slated to become the first K-12 large capacity Public School in Ontario. With this new set of challenges, the development of the project necessitated a collaborative relationship with the Board’s numerous administrators, users and facility personnel. This crucial relationship yielded a design which proved to be both economical and expedient to construct. To this end, many design initiatives were developed including: rethinking shared/common core spaces; consolidated academic wings with clustered break-out spaces to be flexible for different teaching models; and low-cost sustainable strategies such as increased daylight and reduced heat gain/heat island effects. These key principals form the backbone of the new 21st century learning environment, one that embodies the future of education through new approaches to school planning and design. Through the implementation of both formal and informal learning spaces that encourage project and team based delivery, the Tecumseh Vista Academy creates a dynamic education structure that begins to free the historical “talk and chalk” model of learning.
The building is designed with a “core” facility flanked by “academic wings” for the Kindergarten, elementary and secondary panels and competition-level exterior track and synthetic turf field. The core houses a central day lit corridor which acts as the main connecting path within the school. The core area is also comprised of a group of student-focused spaces, adjoining theatre arts and music and athletic services, including two double gyms (4 total), an exercise room and multiple change rooms. The core area is flanked on each side by the academic wings for the secondary and elementary program elements. The academic wings are unique as they offer many new flexible learning opportunities such as clustered classrooms surrounding open project areas to facilitate informal and formal learning (for example, the dance curriculum can be executed in the project area so as not to need the gym or furniture-filled classrooms).