How do we design a school that acts as a heart for the local community?
Douglas Park School is one of four Canadian schools crafted to nurture Creative Age learners and support Regina Public School’s Structural Innovation initiative. From the beginning, administrators, teachers, parents, students and community input was essential to the goal: create a school based on Learning Communities with spaces to share with neighbors as well.
Fielding served as Planner and Design Architect, and the firm Number Ten served as Executive Architect for this school that accommodates 400 students, ranging from pre-kindergarten through grade 8. To kick off the project, the team held an interactive presentation that shared best practice models and our projects from around the world that illustrate key features and design principles for 21st century learning environments. This laid the foundation for the design process that followed.
As a result, the building is organized to provide convenient community access to the main entrance from the north, the gym from the parking on the west side of the site, and safe and secure access for students from the south. Students move directly from the buses to their respective playgrounds and into the school through separate entrances for each Learning Community.
The school commons acts as the heart of the school, unifying three Personal Learning Communities, and providing core learning space for multiple leaning modalities. PLCs 1 and 2 connect to the School Commons with glass roll-up doors, allowing each PLC to expand and borrow space from the Commons as needed. Like a theatre or stage for learning, the school commons can be rearranged to accommodate school meetings, performances and films. The community also uses this space in the evenings and weekends, along with the gym and generous servery/coffee bar space.