This statement-setting three-storey secondary school, formerly Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School, is prominently positioned in the corner of an 18-acre site, establishing an ‘urban wall’ at the intersection of two arterial roads. The massing of this Northwest Waterloo school has been carefully modulated to respond to the suburban streetscape. The Learning Resource Centre has been placed at the corner of the plan to make a strong connection to the surrounding neighbourhood.
The design of the school supports the cross-curricular methodology of team teaching through the introduction of ‘learning clusters’ —teaching areas grouped around a shared learning centre. Classrooms are clustered into nine groups of five classrooms and a common work area. In addition to the typical classrooms, the ground floor level holds the administration and guidance area, special needs area, a triple gymnasium, exercise and aerobics rooms, the cafetorium and teaching kitchen, health and nutrition, the performing arts program including theatre arts, dance, vocal and instrumental music, and the technology labs including auto service, auto body, manufacturing, construction, and horticulture. The second floor houses communication arts, the learning resource centre, and a 330-seat lecture/performance hall. The third floor accommodates general science, biology and physics.