Maitland River Elementary School | 2013 | Wingham, Ontario


Building on the lessons learned and systems integrated with the Little Falls Public School, the Mainland River design expanded this vocabulary and use of sustainable features. Here the site and context allowed a similar economy with the reduction of asphalt for parking and the shared use of extensive playground and playing fields, accessible by both the new elementary school and existing high school.

The orientation of the classrooms was further improved with the majority facing south, east and west, further improving winter solar heat gain. Controllable ballast light systems adapt to the amount of natural light in classrooms, which reduce energy use by 50%. This orientation, working with a linear layout, also creates a streetscape designed for clarity at the entrance to school. The centralized administrative office is located at the principal entrance from which each “wing” of the school can be supervised. The organization of multiple uses of the entry hall and community access and using spaces adjacent to the entrance allow for easy secured control of the building. The very specific classroom design, millwork and teaching system organization, good room acoustics and superior quality of light creates a wonderful environment for teaching and learning. Sustainable benchmarks are now typical for the school board and include: rainwater collection and distribution, high efficiency mechanical systems with extensive use of natural light, all of which provide a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of this building.

Tribute to a local hero has been paid with art and architectural features within the school and commemorative garden, all of which were inspired by a quotation of one of the slain OPP officers son’s: “ I remember when I was in a tree and the branch broke and I came tumbling down and you asked me if I was okay and then we laughed”. A tree motif and artwork has been incorporated into the design of the school building and site landscape and the commemorative garden.

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