Bible Hill Consolidated Elementary School
FBM Architecture and Interior Design
Susan Fitzgerald/ FBM Architecture and Interior Design
Mark Gammon/ FBM Architecture and Interior Design (Production Manager ) Nataleah Irvine/ FBM Architecture and Interior Design (Intern Architect) Carl Hicks/ FBM Architecture and Interior Design (BIM Manager) CS&P Architects (Education Consultant ) SNC Lavalin (Structural/ Civil Engineer) RJ Bartlett Engineering (Code Consultant) FC O’Neill, Scriven & Associates Ltd. (Mechanical/ Electrical Engineer) Gordon Ratcliffe Landscape Architects (Landscape Architect) Solterre Design (LEED Consultant)
The school has three main zones: entry and active area, student support and resource, and classroom houses; all stitched together along the learning street. Daylight cascades from the clerestory above the entire length of this street and from large windows overlooking the landscape. Light, nature and the carefully calibrated steel structure guide the students along the nuanced and colour coded spaces that articulate this street. The learning street is the heart of the school. It incorporates the cafeteria, performance space, art room, library, and circulation areas. It is a flexible and adaptable learning environment which creates a shared informal zone linking the more formal learning spaces. Places for wet and messy activities, active group work, buddy reading, and quiet individual projects are purposefully shaped through the articulation of space and agile furnishings, which can be easily rearranged to suit the functions. Arranged in pairs, classrooms share generous coat hook and cubby zones outside each room. These are created with low walls for ease of supervision and colour coded into school houses. The building’s dynamic façade is created by pushing and pulling the classrooms blocks along the learning street. The exterior corners of the classroom blocks are carved out with glazing to enhance daylight and views within the spaces. Gender neutral washrooms are distributed throughout the learning street for the convenience of small children, to minimise class disruptions, and reduce possibilities for bullying. Sustainability is inherent in the flexibility of these robust spaces, understanding that learning and education are constantly evolving, and spaces have to be agile. Diffused daylight throughout the building makes for delightful spaces and facilitates passive solar heating benefits for the building.
Bible Hill Consolidated Elementary is a place for discovery, education, and social interaction. As a primary to grade four neighbourhood school it delivers on the ambition of being a collaborative place for all students to learn. Through a series of public consultations and focus group sessions the design process received meaningful input from educators, parents, students, teachers, and community members. These meetings established the importance of creating spaces within the school for the community including the gym, music room and cafeteria and highlighted the necessity of the school to embrace multiple and diverse learning styles so that no child is left behind. Located along the main road of Bible Hill, within the agrarian landscape of Colchester County, this school occupies the site of the former Bible Hill Central Elementary School. Carefully sited to maintain the existing park and trees dedicated to community members, the school grounds house an ice hockey pond, soccer fields, hard surface game areas, and play structures for the school and neighbourhood use.
The school opened in September 2017 to eager students, teachers, parents, and the community who have taken ownership of the building. At the entry is a bright mosaic of ceramic tiles painted by each teacher and student from the combined schools. This artwork acts as a clear reminder of the collective consciousness that creates a school, while allowing for individual diversity and difference to flourish.