Innovative space is open-concept, designed to support specific learning purposes
Walk through the newly-built science and media centre wing at Toronto District Christian High School (TDChristian) and you’ll find a space radically different from the box-on-box classroom set-up of most schools.
The extension was designed by Roland Jonker of OCA Architects with input by a group of TDChristian staff, students and school community members.
Jonker, an out-of-the-box thinker, had to do some significant creative work to implement some of the group’s ideas, such as reducing hallways.
The new wing is open concept with furniture separating various areas dedicated to specific learning purposes. There are spaces for project work, others for presentations, quiet areas and more noisy spots, with each blending into the other.
“If there was ever a time where we built around educational ideas, it was this time,” says principal Ren Siebenga. “To me, that’s the most exciting piece of this.”
Siebenga says the new space “pulls the structures out of the way and allows for the learning to occur like it’s planned.”
Other features of the addition, which began in May, include expansive windows offering “incredible vistas out towards some areas of our property.”
The $3-million dollar project also incorporates new chemistry, biology, physics and science labs and more than 100 new computer stations.
More than 500 guests gathered Nov. 28 for the grand opening of the new wing, among them several regional and city councillors as well as Vaughan MP Maurizio Bevilacqua.
Visitors expressed interest in “the unique and different look a school can have and still be called a school.”
The grand opening included guided tours of the addition and a drama presentation by TDChristian students.
A choir of about 48 alumni also gathered and, after an hour of rehearsal, presented several moving musical numbers.
Part of the official program featured a formal thank-you to mayor Linda Jackson and the City of Vaughan for their assistance in helping TDChristian clean up its property following August’s tornado damage.