Junior School Annex
To support the strategic ambition to provide the best possible learning environment for our students, we began a new chapter for our school with the construction of the Junior School Annex.
In discussion and design for more than a year, the Junior School Annex project will provide new teaching and learning spaces for current students, along with adding a much in demand Junior Kindergarten program. The construction staging commenced in March 2022 and the Annex is planned for completion by the summer of 2023; in time for the opening of the 2023-24 school year.
Above you will see a depiction of some of the sight lines of the Annex, which will include:
- a learning commons (library);
- an art room;
- a music room;
- new classrooms;
- and a central atrium, where students will experience a shared connection to the outdoors.
This construction project will also allow for the discontinued use of the portables and will provide additional landscaping upgrades to support Physical Education classes and daily outdoor community times.
Progress on Construction
August 16, 2023
Thank you to our donors and families who have supported our Junior School Annex Project. We have not yet met our goal of $10 million to cover the cost of this project. Please join us and support the Annex project today. To learn more, email [email protected] or visit the Journey for Life Campaign webpage.
Annex Frequently Asked Questions
When will construction begin?
Construction began on schedule in March, 2022.
When will construction end?
We aim to have students learning in the Annex for the opening of school in September 2023.
Will noise impact learning at the Junior School?
There will be unavoidable noise throughout construction; however, scheduling of major construction elements will be, whenever possible, planned for school holidays and over the summer months. We have mitigation plans for adjoining classrooms, and we will continue to make adjustments to ensure a productive learning environment for our students.
What safety measures will be in place?
The safety of our students is always our first priority. Fencing will be erected around the full building site and construction traffic will be contained to its own lane, coming and going primarily from Falkland Road. Students and staff will also be instructed on the use of well marked travel paths to the field and portables.
What will my child’s experience be during this period of development?
Our existing indoor facilities, including the gym, will remain intact and fully functional during construction; classes and activities will be largely unaffected during this time. Some other areas will be impacted, and we have plans in place to ensure continued learning and experiences:
- PE/Athletics - Our PE and Athletics program will be able to continue to offer the full scope of programming for the 2022-2023 school year. Once the construction project begins, the field space will be reduced. For the remainder of this term, the students will be in our gym participating in basketball and gymnastics units – thus, we will not need the field for Physical Education. Upon our return from Spring Break, Physical Education will study units of rugby, track and field, and an outdoor games unit. We have confirmed that we will have the use of Lafayette Park, just a short walk or run away, for the school day during Term 3.
- Playground - The existing playground structure will be removed this March and will be reinstalled in August 2023. We will be creating a timetable that provides time for teachers to take classes to Lafayette Park for outdoor recess times and to enjoy the playground structure of that park.
- Recess - We will implement a slightly altered timetable that will facilitate recesses with fewer classes outside at the same time. We will continue to prioritize active time outside for our students.
What about traffic in the neighbourhood?
We anticipate that daily traffic will remain much the same during construction and after completion, given that only Junior Kindergarten will be added to the student numbers. During construction, work vehicles will be coming and going from Falkland Road and will be respectful of drop-off and pick-up times. This should result in minimal impact of traffic patterns during the busiest parts of the school day.
How will parking issues be addressed?
During construction, the number of staff parking places on campus will remain unchanged, although the location will be divided between the current location and a temporary parking area on the west side of the campus, with access via Falkland Road. At the completion of the Annex, the plan is to have a slightly larger staff parking area on the north side of the new building.
Who are the architects?
We are delighted to be working with Merrick Architects.
Who are the builders?
After a comprehensive tendering process, the construction management contract was awarded to Canpro Construction LTD.
What will teaching spaces look like in the new Intermediate Classrooms?
The classrooms in the Annex will be for Grades 3, 4, 5 and will be designed to support teacher-centred, as well as activity-based learning. The classrooms will have breakout rooms for students to work together on an idea or project, or to receive additional support while remaining close to the classroom activities.
What are some of the design considerations for the Junior School Annex?
- Colour – Colours throughout the school will reflect the beautiful west coast environment that is our backyard. Elements of colour will be carefully balanced by natural colours and wood tones, creating a calming environment.
- Natural Light – Children learn best with an abundance of natural light and this has been considered throughout the school.
- Developmental Appropriateness – The early learning classrooms have children’s kitchens, appropriately-sized furniture, and developmentally appropriate bathrooms designed for the youngest children, along with cozy corners and lofts, floor and table lamps, and an abundance of natural materials. As we move through to intermediate classrooms, the furniture will reflect movement, independence and flexible learning through the day.
- Technology – including flat panel displays in each classroom and updated campus-wide WiFi will support research, organization, innovation, and collaboration.
- Sustainability – LEED standards have been considered in the general design and also in areas such as HVAC systems, windows and all building materials. The Annex will also be outfitted with a solar panel system that will take advantage of building placement and roof angles to mitigate and support energy uses.
How will this project ultimately impact teaching and learning?
One of the principles of the Reggio inspired approach that guides the Junior School is that “environment is the third teacher,” which places importance on the physical environment in which children are learning. The new Learning Commons, Art Room, Music Room, along with six new classrooms and renovations to the existing classrooms will reflect the need for movement, natural light, and developmental differences through the years. Spaces that reflect the variety of approaches used by our teachers will allow for flexible learning spaces and varying strategies for the learning process.
Will there be any increase in the student population?
There will not be an increase in the Kindergarten to Grade 5 student population, but we are excited to add a much desired Junior Kindergarten to our school. We look forward to sharing more information about this with you as we move towards the successful completion of the Annex.
What will be the impact on our current green spaces and trees?
The school has worked closely with a landscape architect to ensure that our existing mature trees and green spaces are maintained. The new atrium is a physical reminder of the natural world and the connection between our indoor and outdoor spaces. The Annex will be actively connected to the outdoor spaces and we will continue to have our play structures, natural materials, basketball courts and wide open field spaces.
How much will this project cost?
The estimated cost of the Annex is approximately $10 million and will be raised through our Journey for Life fundraising campaign.
How can I help with fundraising?
As with all SMUS facilities, fundraising is a critical component of paying for capital improvements. The Annex project, like all facilities we enjoy today on both campuses, will come to fruition with the least impact on operational funds, through the generosity of our community of donors. The Annex has a number of leadership gift naming opportunities for key spaces in the school, and as a registered charity, SMUS is able to issue tax receipts for all eligible donations received. All donors to this campaign will be recognized and all gifts matter to the success of the campaign. If you wish to discuss any element of fundraising, please contact Shara Campsall, Director of Advancement at [email protected].
How is the fundraising progressing?
Fundraising is progressing well, with our sincere gratitude for some very generous, early donations, but there is much still to be done. Every gift will help us, and high participation from all parents, staff and alumni, will ensure the timely completion of both fundraising and construction. This in turn will allow us to turn our attention to the next capital projects outlined in our Campus Master Plan. Please visit the website again for updates on our fundraising progress.