Completion: 2009
Owner: Hesquiaht Band

Hesquiaht School and Community Centre

The new educational facility for the remote Hesquiaht community is more than a K-12 school, it has become the centre of the community, accommodating day-care, scholastic, cultural, gathering and sporting functions. Given its location in the heart of Clayoquot sound, a remote area of the west coast of Vancouver Island designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Site, the project team developed sustainable objectives early in the design phase. The result is a school that integrates architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical and civil systems using alternate and renewable local resources to heat, ventilate, clad, finish and landscape the building.

Turning into assets the 2 most adverse characteristics of the site, high wind and heavy precipitation, the building has been sited and designed to harvest the wind, enabling entirely natural ventilation and the site has been shaped to collect rainwater into a detention pond used as a heat source serving as energy for heating the building. Building forms act as air foil, assisting the natural ventilation process.

To off-set the difficult and expensive logistics of transporting materials to this remote area, the majority of framing, structural and finish material, wood, was harvested from blowdown trees lying in the neighbouring forest. The trees were brought to the community, split for fencing and siding, and milled on-site with a portable mill for siding, shelving, trims and benches. Other sustainability features include a radiant slab, generous daylight, sewage conveyance by rainwater, natural materials and efficient landscaping bringing energy savings that exceed the requirements of the MNECB by 63%.

Construction was completed using a construction management framework that managed to employ and train 48 community members and leave over $725,000 of wages in the community.

Related work: First Nations Schools