Holy Cross Regional High School
HCRHS is a regional catholic high school owned by the RCAV and operated by the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA). The school site is comprised of the existing Holy Cross Secondary, St. Matthew’s R.C. Parish, St. Matthew’s Elementary school, and existing Track Field Facility. At present, the school remains over capacity due to the schools age (35+ years), has seismic deficiencies and is pressured by increased enrollment. Thinkspace was retained to review and update the previous findings to facilitate a necessary comprehensive renewal ‘campus’ concept plan.
Site Organization / Campus Plan
The siting, massing and orientation of the new school is influenced by several major factors and while site constraints were a major consideration; form, program adjacencies, street presence, and an organized interface of site elements and construction phasing guided the process. Improvements to existing parking capacity, the demolition of the existing school, available views and limited available buildable area where also considered in the siting of the new building.
The proposed north-south building orientation between parking and the existing field minimizes visual impacts on the residential neighborhood to the north while creating a cohesive campus plan. To ensure a safe and convenient pedestrian circulation, the new school main entrance aligns with existing building access points associated with the Existing St. Mathews R.C Parish and elementary school, incorporated as an east west raised crosswalk, complete with traffic calming and landscaping elements.
Three Storey Organization
The organization and qualities of circulation spaces has a profound impact on the social aspects of learning by promoting structured and spontaneous interaction. These spaces can support an overall sense of community and reduce student isolation. The spatial qualities, views, changing natural light and spontaneous social interactions – from the moment of arrival and along the route leading to a specific learning activity – must be socially and intellectually stimulating in preparation for learning.
The School is zoned with the student learning neighborhoods arranged on the upper two floors above the lower floor ‘specialty’ programs. This arrangement works both in plan and section with the existing parking and sports field as a sheltering feature which interfaces with the new parking arrangement and existing sports field.
School Commons/ Multipurpose Space
The school’s general office is located to supervise the main entry and Multipurpose space. Passive supervision of vehicle parking and drop-off locations is further enhanced by this adjacency. The multipurpose space provides a ‘grand commons’ entrance that can accommodate student gathering, student gallery or display area as well as provide space for meals and scheduled school and community events.
Particular importance has been given to the placement and arrangement of the gym program. Its location at the south end of the school allows the construction of the gymnasium and associated changerooms, weight room, and required service space to be phased with the demolition of the existing gym. It is also envisioned that gym activity will be visible from both the exterior and interior spaces, highlighting the importance of the school athletic program and the school’s connection with the surrounding community.