Stittsville Public School
The Town of Stittsville, located outside of Ottawa, Canada, required a new elementary school and daycare to meet the demand of the growing local community. The school is a two-storey, 56,000 s.f. elementary school.
The linear configuration provides easy supervision from the two-storey entrance lobby on the ground floor and from the second storey “bridge” that overlooks the lobby and library below. The school is designed with a double-loaded corridor system that is compact and efficient. Because of its ‘open-ended’ layout, expansion is possible at each end of the school; thus, the building design is very flexible and future additions can be accommodated easily.
The interior design elements, such as the library’s two-storey glass wall, natural light and decorative floors patterns, create a visually pleasant atmosphere. Large glazed surfaces, in the two-storey lobby and library, and the skylight on the second floor, allow natural light to flow into the interior spaces, thus making these interior spaces as pleasant as the areas that have windows on the perimeter walls.
Secured doors, between the core and the two wings, allow the community to use the front lobby and the gymnasium after hours.
School Pricipal Narrative
The architect designed the new school and it opened to rave reviews on September 6, 2006.
The entrance to the school is aesthetically pleasing with its many flower and plant beds, central walkway of interlocking brick, double-width stairs and numerous building foundation plants. Separate entrances, one being the bus loop and the other being a drop-off loop that parents can use when the bus loop is in use, have provided ample areas for vehicular traffic.
Having come from an older school, students, staff and parents were impressed with the abundance of light and colour that create airiness and an open concept feeling. On the second floor, the corridor widens to approximately twenty-three feet at one point. This has proven invaluable as a work area for small groups of students working on projects and/or as an area where parents can work quietly with students one-on-one as part of their various academic programs. The thirty-six foot skylight above the area provides additional natural lighting to a hallway that is bounded on the other three sides by walls and/or flooring.
The two-storey library with its floor to ceiling windows, located adjacent to the front foyer, is filled with light and has become a central meeting place. Windows, overlooking the library from the second floor hallway, serve three functions. Again they allow natural light into an upper hallway, allow supervising teachers and administration an instant viewing of what is happening from a bird’s-eye vantage in the library, and create a point of interest for students traveling between classes.
In the former school, stairwells were dark and narrow. Our present three staircases are wide and would appear to take up a lot of space. However, their shallow steps are deep enough to hold the length of an entire adult’s foot and they are covered with anti-skid flooring; two benefits arise from this. One, the students have ample space to pass each other should one class be going up and one coming down and secondly, the shallow steps ensure that even our smallest three year old Junior Kindergarten students can use them in complete safety. Small windows, at eye level in the rear stairwells, allow teachers quick and easy visual access to the playground.
Several teachers and students experience severe respiratory problems and the air exchange system has greatly reduced their use of inhalers and related medications. Two staff members who experienced a great deal of stress at the ‘old’ school are ecstatic at no longer needing to use their inhalers even once this year; their improved health has resulted in a decrease of sick leave.
As educators, the staff and I are pleased with our new school. Comments from visitors indicate their surprise upon entering such a colourful, light-filled, and airy environment designed to provide both a welcoming and a functional place of learning for their children.