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Bondfield fast-tracks construction of Stratford, Ontario university campus

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The team of Bondfield Construction and ZAS Architects is spearheading construction of a 45,000-square-foot digital media facility in Stratford, Ontario, the first step in the phased development of a new campus for the University of Waterloo.
Bondfield fast-tracks construction of Stratford, Ontario university campus

The team of Bondfield Construction and ZAS Architects is spearheading construction of a 45,000-square-foot digital media facility in Stratford, the first step in the phased development of a new campus for the University of Waterloo.

Funded by the province and the city of Stratford, the building is being constructed on a 1.38-acre parcel of land on St. Patrick Street in the downtown core. The construction budget is $13.5 million.

A design-build construction contract was awarded in February. Construction got under way in mid-May on the project which has been fast-tracked. Completion is scheduled for next July.

“There is a lot of work to be done in a short period of time,” said Paul Stevens, senior principal in ZAS Architects. “But I think we’re in good shape.”

The three-storey facility will house a multi-storey event space, media labs, collaboration spaces, project rooms, conference rooms, administration areas and a south-facing, roof-top patio. LEED Silver is being targeted.

Unlike traditional learning spaces, the building has an open-concept design that features glass walls, access to natural light and open collaboration spaces. The classrooms are all designed to be flexible and equipped with state-of-the-art technology.

The university said project rooms throughout the building are a key feature for students who will be utilizing these rooms throughout their undergraduate and graduate careers.

“This open design allows for natural collaboration and an easy flow and exchange of ideas. It’s about flexibility and community.”

The glass façade was designed so that the community can see the activity within the facility and is welcomed into the building.

A major design feature on the main floor is the open event space with a planned three-storey digital tile wall.

Stevens said the design was inspired by the city’s industrial and railway heritage.

“Stratford has an interesting history,” he said. “The city was a railroad town at the turn of the century. They are now trying to reinvent themselves as an ‘intelligent’ community. The new campus is really a big step in that direction.”

While the programming focus will be digital media, the campus will capitalize on emerging technologies.

The building will house faculty, staff and students in the university’s master of digital experience innovation program and the global business and digital arts program along with a centre of excellence in digital media commercialization and research.

The partnership between the city and the university will bring students, researchers, businesses and entrepreneurs together to examine and commercialize opportunities in the digital media space.

by Patricia Williams

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