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Alton High School, Library and Recreation Centre
Burlington, Ontario

This unique project opened its doors in September of 2013 after 18 months of construction and 2 years of planning. The school was designed to function for the 21st century and contains many innovative design solutions. In fact, it can even be designated as a ‘PSF”, Passive Survival Facility.

What makes this project unique is that it is the first 'shared use' facility of it's kind in the City of Burlington and the Region of Halton. This facility is comprised of three partners with three distinct yet interconnected facilities under one 'roof of unity'. The Alton Recreation Centre is operated by the City of Burlington, the Alton Branch Public Library is within the Burlington Public Library system while the Frank J. Hayden Secondary School is under the jurisdiction of the Halton Board of Education system.

The library and high school employ the use of thermal storage into it’s core structure. This is comprised of Termobuild’s advanced integrated engineered design that is skillfully integrates three mechanical systems into one: radiant heating, radiant cooling, without wet systems, and energy storage to produce a sustainable low-energy facility. This is a prime example of how to do more with less. 

This new multi-purposed facility, designed by SVEDAS Architects Inc., draws on the successes and lessons learned from previous award winning projects where this system was employed. In particular, the library and high school incorporates hollow core slabs, (precast concrete slabs manufactured by Coreslab), linked with the mechanical systems producing ‘smart’ floors thereby benefiting from simple and instantly rewarding energy-saving solutions at a conventional construction cost. Architect Tony Svedas points out, “Our goals were to reduce capital costs, shorten the construction time-frame, lower operating costs and improve the building environment. We knew we had an environmentally conscious construction method to consider. 

Classrooms feature exposed hollow core precast slabs with suspended up lighting to create a comfortable ambiance in light levels. In the main body of the classrooms, there are dropped bulkheads adjacent to the corridor walls that contain the connection ductwork to the hollow cores. For added acoustic effectiveness, the rooms are finished with an acoustic drop ceiling, acoustic fabric panels surrounding the classroom along with back walls.

This system reduces costs and eliminates 40% to 50% of the mechanical ductwork normally used for the heating and ventilation systems, and it increases clear floor to ceiling heights by reducing limitations due to mechanical restrictions. A precast system tied into the heating and ventilation system skillfully produces a low-cost, energy efficient and sustainable facility with better indoor air quality. 

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