Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Milton, Ontario, is our latest interpretation of the learner-centred school and aims to enhance meaningful social relationships in the digital age. It is organized into a three storey academic wing and a two storey sports/theatre complex united by a centrally located atrium.
Major activity areas like the cafeteria, the food school, theatre, guidance and administration areas flank the Atrium, creating a “main street” ambiance and making it the vibrant hum of the school community.
The Board’s vision is “Achieving Believing Belonging”. We applied this ethos throughout the school by featuring places that invite and engage, places for pause, places that allow passive supervision and places for outdoor learning. The school is punctuated with abundant daylight and provides visual interconnectivity throughout.
The Catholic values of community and spirituality are facilitated by the shaping of the building. Higher levels of spiritual engagement are fostered with the Atrium being focused on the Chapel. The staircases have enlarged spaces to encourage student gathering. By pulling workshop spaces, auditoriums and gyms into the heart of the school we make it easy for all students to see and participate in activities there. The magnificent views open the students to the community at large and the design welcomes community into the school to use facilities such as the theatre, gym and field house. Successful schools have a positive emotional atmosphere and we designed Jean Vanier to create this energy and to foster student and teacher engagement.