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Georgian College expansion a lesson in fast building

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Construction is expected to get under way early next month on Georgian College’s permanent home in Collingwood, a 20,000-square-foot facility to house nine classrooms as well as a student lounge.
Georgian College expansion a lesson in fast building

Construction is expected to get under way early next month on Georgian College’s permanent home in Collingwood, a 20,000-square-foot facility to house nine classrooms as well as a student lounge.

Designed by Barrie’s McKnight Charron Laurin Inc., the estimated $4.3 million facility will include two computer labs, one e-lab, one multi-functional health sciences lab and a community room/small classroom.

The balance will be traditional classrooms, all equipped with full multi-media services.

Multi-function rooms will be fitted with movable walls for maximum flexibility in terms of space.

Administrative offices and “innovation space” for small business incubation activities will be provided as well.

The new building will accommodate 250 full-time students and more than 3,000 part-time students annually.

Architect Michael McKnight said the two-storey, steel-frame building is intended to be “accessible and transparent in all senses of the word.

“We wanted to make sure that people on the inside can see out and that people approaching the building can see what goes on inside.”

Building materials include curtainwall as well as brick and metal veneer systems.

While the building has not been designed to achieve LEED certification per se, it will be highly energy-efficient as well as sustainable, McKnight said.

“We’re working with engineers with experience on LEED projects.”

The consultant team includes mechanical engineers Aegis Engineering Ltd., electrical engineers e-Lumen International Inc., structural engineers SWS Engineering Inc. and site services engineers Greenland. The firm of MHBC is providing both planning and landscape architecture services.

McKnight, whose firm has undertaken projects at various Georgian College campuses, said the Collingwood facility has been designed to be “quickly constructible,” given a tight eight-month construction schedule.

Construction must be completed by the end of next March.

The building is being constructed on a greenfield 10-acre site donated by developer John Di Poce. Funding is being provided by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

McKnight said eight general contractors have been prequalified to bid the project along with six mechanical contractors and five electrical contractors.

Tenders close next week. Plans are on display at the Barrie Construction Association.

The new campus is scheduled to open for classes in the fall of 2011.

by Patricia Williams

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