Students played a large role in design of new $18 million Westpark Middle School

School opening in the fall is set up as a teaching tool so students can learn about the building

An official tour of the partially completed $18 million new Westpark Middle School on Wednesday morning revealed some unique and creative architectural design elements — many thought of by the students themselves.

Former Westpark student Isaac Boettcher, who is now in high school, got involved in the project by sitting on the Student Design Committee while a student at Westpark.

It was ‘cool’ students were consulted in the school design and were involved in the project, he said.

The two-story middle school, which will open on schedule in the fall, features a staircase, elevator, water features, a power room encased in glass and outdoor classroom space, all of which were the students’ ideas.

Many of the environmentally efficient aspects of the school, such as solar power, were also the students’ ideas.

“Obviously students have made a huge difference,” he said. “If they are given an opportunity, they can make change.”

George Berry, senior partner with Berry Architecture and Associates, said the building operates under high energy efficiency standards, something the students wanted to see right from the start.

The school has a solar chimney — the first of its kind in Alberta — to improve the school’s heating and cooling efficiency.

The building was also designed to be one large classroom. Some systems will be encased in glass and monitored allowing students to observe and learn how they operate.

“Wherever they walk in the building, they are learning, they are experiencing what a building is like,” Berry explained.

“We can tie science and mathematics and art and English into the building designs overall so it was very important to have the students involved.”

The school’s exterior has a park with First Nations and Metis designs, an area for students to socialize before and after class and a garden.

The idea to involve the students is a company philosophy, Berry said.

“We spend so much time talking with clients that we don’t get to the end users. To expose the kids, to learn right at the very start to what goes into a project and how it happens and how it’s a benefit to the entire community, is very important.”

Another element is an open concept design with outdoor classroom space. The school was also designed to have the highest standard for leadership in energy and environmental design, called the LEED Gold standard.

The building will also be open for use by the community. Red Deer Minor Baseball will have an office in the facility. The facility will have a concession and two exterior public washrooms funded by the City of Red Deer.

Red Deer Public Schools Board of Trustees Chair Bev Manning praised the project, calling it a community process.

“We want students to be able to find spaces where they are safe, cared for and nurtured and I think this school provides for a lot of that and a lot of that impetus for those kinds of space came from the students themselves.”


A classroom that has a garage door opening to the outside. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

The future school gym. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

The new school features an open concept design. Robin Grant/Red Deer Express

Just Posted

Sharon and Bram head to Red Deer on final tour

The duo is celebrating their 40th anniversary farewell tour

Supporters rally for Jason Kenney as UCP leader stops in Red Deer

Kenney promises equalization reform, stopping ‘Trudeau-Notley’ payroll hike, trade, economic mobility

Motown Soul celebrates ‘greats’ of classic era

Show pays tribute to Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye among others

Women of Excellence Awards introduces ‘Women of Excellence in Construction’

Gala will take place June 19th at the Sheraton Red Deer

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Most Read