Norma Rose Point K–8 School

Client: School District No. 39 (Vancouver)
Location: Vancouver, BC

This school is one component of the University Hill family of four schools, envisaged as a continuum of learning from pre-kindergarten to post-secondary education, on the UBC campus. The Vancouver School Board wrote an educational prospectus for this group of schools to lead the way with 21st century learning objectives.

This 970-student facility provides two schools in one – a pre-kindergarten to grade 5 primary school, and a grades 6 to 8 middle school, complementing the existing 350-student University Hill Elementary School and the 800-student University Hill Secondary School.

A high level of collaboration was essential in defining, developing, and employing the 21st century learning principles outlined in the educational prospectus. The integrated design process was also challenged to incorporate the needs of numerous and diverse stakeholders.

The new K-8 school gives physical form to the Vancouver School Board’s concept of 21st century learning, with the school organized into nine learning communities arrayed around shared learning commons.

The learning communities will accommodate multi-grade groupings of students in spaces that encourage collaborative teaching and individualized project-based and experiential learning.

Teaching spaces are designed to extend outside through balconies and a terrace on the 2nd floor of the middle school, enabling ecological study and experimentation. Common areas are enhanced by the Neighbourhood Learning Centre area to increase community use.

Examples of 21st century learning objectives supported by the school plan include:

  • classrooms and seminar rooms with different shapes, sizes, furnishings, and acoustic qualities to support learning groups of different sizes and purposes
  • classrooms are grouped around a learning commons to foster a sense of larger community and are extensively glazed to allow natural supervision from adjacent spaces
  • a professional office is provided to foster professional teaching collaboration, centrally located and glazed for supervision of the learning commons, as well as easy access to and from students
  • multi-purpose classrooms, such as the Da Vinci Science and Art Studio, are provided
  • the learning commons and / or classrooms are expandable into each other by opening, easily lifted, glass garage doors

One goal is to incorporate green features into the building as a tool for students to learn about sustainability. The project includes passive design strategies such as:

  • considering daylighting, solar shading and other factors
  • energy modelling to ensure cost-effective and high-performance building systems
  • appropriate uses of the site

Norma Rose Point K-8 School has achieved LEED® Silver certification.

View the video that was created for the school in collaboration with Digital Cyclops and Fielding Nair International.