An environmentally sustainable, three-storey student residence is currently under construction at W. Ross Macdonald School.
The 50,000-square foot residence, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education, was designed by local architecture firm MMMC Architects.
“We assist the students in way-finding by using textural contrasts, tactile and acoustic clues and by bringing as much controlled natural light into the building as possible,” said architect Greg Poste.
The residence will house 76 of the school’s senior students who are visually impaired and deafblind. Students will live in self-contained, apartment-style units.
The building will include an indoor link to the school to provide an all-weather, accessible connection.
The project has been designed to meet LEED Silver standards and will feature sustainable building systems, including geo-thermal energy for heating and cooling, reduced water consumption using collection, storage and use of rain water for grey water plumbing systems and energy efficient lighting.
The ground floor will include two short-stay apartments to be used by visitors, as well as training classrooms, a cafe, computer and lounge areas.
Andrew Morrison, spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Education, said the residence will “provide a structured, supportive living environment that enhances learning, life skills, social skills and promotes independence and self-esteem.”
Morrison said he was unable to provide a total cost, as the project is ongoing.
Construction of the residence is expected to be complete by early 2014.