Bertram Construction builds Innisfil school for expansion

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            Kempenfelt Bay School designed for academic and creative growth

Barrie Construction Report special feature

Kempenfelt Bay School (KBS) will open its doors this September in a new two-storey 23,000 sq. ft. building designed to meet the academic and creative needs of its junior kindergarten to grade eight students. The building has also been designed to expand to house students up to grade 12 over time.

The private school, located in Innisfil in Simcoe County, has been constructed by Bertram Construction on the town’s municipal campus, also home to South Simcoe Police. MAK Mechanical has provided the school’s heating, air conditioning, ventilation and plumbing. Landmark Environmental Group created the school’s exterior landscaping design.

Mark Campsall, Bertram’s project manager, says the school’s future expansion played a key role in the building’s design. Large windows located on the ground floor and second floor will be removed and turned into a corridor to connect to the second phase when it is constructed.

“Ensuring that the services including hydro, communications, water, sprinkler, and sanitary were near this future corridor and easily extendable was important to limit the disruption when the future addition happens.”

He says laying out the site and the building to ensure that the future buildings would work was also a consideration from early design meeting stages.

MAK Mechanical president Mike Kinsey says the wet spring created challenges in the timeline but the team made full use of sunny days to get as much done as possible.

He says the MAK team met with the staff at Bertram Construction very early in the design stage and identified required changes to the foyer’s design. “Backed by our 25 years with design build on many commercial projects we were able to work together with Bertram to provide a design that was efficient, a solution that was a good fit and that satisfied the client.”

Kinsey says he had between eight and 10 people on site at various times in order to meet the mid-August turnover to give staff time to set up before students arrive in September.

Among the school’s features are classrooms for each grade, along with dedicated spaces for art, music, a science lab and a library. Campsall says the science lab has been designed with non-corrosive piping to support student experiments and chemical use. The music room has been designed with similar attention to detail through the installation of a stage and risers.

Walking into the school, he says guests will first enter a large open foyer equipped with a projector and screen for assemblies and other events. A polished concrete floor will provide a beautiful visual and easy maintenance.

The foyer acts as a central space with a teacher’s lounge, administrative and other offices to the west and the library and five classrooms to the east. “The second floor has the music room, art room, home room and a science room, as well as three finished classrooms and three unfinished classrooms.”

The school’s exterior design includes a heavy timber overhang on the south side constructed of Douglas Fir. Campsall says this overhang provides a covered space for the kids and is directly adjacent to the bus drop off location and the main entrance.

Landscaping also features prominently in the exterior design. Jim Hosick, principal and landscape architect with Landmark Environmental says his team created a vision for the landscaping that included an educational and four-season sensory element. “We chose native plants such as Indian grass that provides tall vertical relief and that, planted in groups, will create a moving effect.”

The Snowflake Mock Orange that will be planted will provide a fragrant welcome to students and visitors during May, he says, while Red Osier Dogwoods will provide vivid red branching in winter to compliment the golden green of the Old Gold Junipers selected. “These elements will grow and mature as the students do and will one day become part of the backdrop for graduation photos and other moments.”

Hosick says Innisfil Beach Rd., a main road running in front of the school posed a challenge due to winter salting but the choice of native plants should ensure they will survive the added stress. Planting is expected to begin in late fall or early spring once construction is fully complete.

The school is adjacent to a recreation complex and through a partnership with the Town of Innisfil and the YMCA, students will also have access to the YMCA’s gym and swimming pools and the Innisfil Recreation Complex’s soccer and baseball diamonds.

The Town of Innisfil’s vision for the campus, Hosick says, will create a sense of place for residents. “They’ll come here for recreation, to enjoy the Rotary trail that winds through the woods, for school, and municipal services. There are several stages to come, including the addition of a health centre, that will make this a wonderful campus and asset to the community.”

Part of the overall campus approach included repurposing four medium-sized trees which were relocated to another area of the site.

Campsall says this is the first time Bertram has worked with KBS so the process of designing the school was all new and a “clean slate” for the build. “The KBS staff are a great bunch of people and are very easy to work with which made the project very enjoyable and I am proud to have been a part of it.”

Kinsey says: “Mark Campsall was an effective project manager keeping the timeline on the horizon and Peter Commodore, the site super, made sure things were to the highest standards on site.”

Hosick adds that the project team worked well together, that communication was clear and concise and that the result is an effort everyone is proud and pleased to be part of.

Pat Dasovic, KBS board chair, says, “Kempenfelt Bay School is very excited to be opening the doors to our new school this September, with special thanks to Bertram Construction: Lisa Bertram, Mark Campsall and Peter Commodore. KBS looks forward to joining the Innisfil Campus and partnering with the Town of Innisfil and the YMCA. This is a testament to a unique/creative vision and community partnerships.”