A newly expanded trades and technologies centre opened at Lethbridge College on September 27. The building, which was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects in association with Sahuri + Partners, nears 170,000 square feet, making it one of the largest buildings in Lethbridge.
The Trades Technologies Renewal and Innovation Project (TTRIP) provides space and programming for over 880 additional students, a 50 per cent increase from its previous capacity. The expansion provided new workshops, labs, offices and classrooms around a north-south central spine and adjacent learning commons.
“The goal was to bring a cohesive and legible plan that identifies and provides views into the different program areas,” said Michael Leckman, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, in a press release. “Also a priority was to create informal study and gathering space to encourage student encounter and the opportunity to continue learning outside the classroom or workshop setting.”
A first phase of the state-of-the-art expansion included the addition of large automotive and heavy agriculture equipment bays to the Crooks School of Transportation, which opened in September 2015. Lethbridge College set a high bar for energy-efficient design with a “net zero utility cost to operate” goal for the new facility, which aims to maintain the energy used to operate the building at no more than a smaller facility if replaced.
“Energy modeling, user input and process loads were analyzed and a comprehensive array of passive and active sustainable design features were implemented that allow us to exceed the target,” said Dan Gallivan, associate at Diamond Schmitt, and project architect. “Solar control, efficient glazing and minimizing the area of the building envelope enhanced building performance so that it is now positioned to achieve a high level of LEED certification.”
One of the building’s defining features includes a swooping roofline, referencing the region’s landscape. Eighty light tubes embedded in the roof, in addition to clerestory windows, provide plenty of natural light to the large program areas.
The facility is designed to be a learning tool. Various building techniques and materials including structural concrete and steel, glulam timbers, masonry and curtain wall glazing allow instructors to demonstrate construction methods and performance.
“The building itself is beautiful and has already become a showcase piece on campus, but the practical applications and technological benefits that it will provide to students is the most exciting part of this project,” added Dr. Paula Burns, president and CEO at Lethbridge College.