Anywhere & everywhere...

Friday 26 Feb 2010

Every space is a learning space at the Nova Scotia Community College

This was a complex project of landmark significance to the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC). At the time of commission, university and community college capture rates of post-secondary enrollment in Nova Scotia were extremely unbalanced (83/17) due to NSCC’s dated and degraded campus facilities. The location of this campus on a prominent waterfront site in the heart of Halifax was intended to radically revise the image of the College in the minds of the government, business and post-secondary stakeholder communities of Nova Scotia. NSCC wanted the building to say ‘we’ve arrived’, ‘we matter’ and ‘we’re first rate’!

To achieve this ambition, NSCC wanted a sustainable ‘student-centered, learn-anywhere-learn-everywhere’ design that would foster collegiality, inter-disciplinary interactions and fully support the college’s unique 'portfolio learning' pedagogy wherein students acquire not only trade / profession competency, but acquire broader qualities of teamwork, communications, initiative, adaptability and inclusion.

The quality of the student environment in the Phase One building has surpassed all of the NSCC’s expectations, garnering an unprecedented amount of positive attention and praise and becoming a provincial jewel and showpiece. The 25,620 sq m, $42M building contains program spaces for the Schools of Business, Health and Human Services, Applied Arts and New Media, computer labs, specialist labs, and studio environments. Common services include a stunning Library and Learning Commons, student lounges on all floors, Food Court, Presentation Centre, Exhibition space, Student Services Centre, and meeting and administrative support facilities. Key student spaces are organised along a dramatic curtain wall that offers spectacular views out over Halifax Harbour.

The project has achieved LEED Silver certification; a 47% reduction in energy usage; and in a Building Environmental Standards audit by the Building Owner & Manager’s Association (BOMA), achieved Level 4 certification (the highest level achieved in Nova Scotia) and a 93 point score (the highest score of any building in Canada).

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