The skeleton of what will be a new $48-million high school and community centre for Bedford-Hammonds Plains has claimed its place in the community skyline.
Glimpses of the naked shell of the largest single construction project ever undertaken in this rapidly growing part of Halifax Regional Municipality were provided to outgoing commuters on Highway 102 this week as they approached the Hammonds Plains exit.
Portions of the steel frame of the estimated 15,000-square-metre complex being built by PCL Constructors Inc. of Dartmouth appeared above the trees beside the Research In Motion campus on Innovation Drive.
“We took a drive by last night. My son went gaga,” a Bedford resident said Wednesday.
Construction of the high school and community recreation and arts complex, designed by WHW Architects of Halifax, moved ahead quickly this spring due to excellent building conditions, said Terry Smith-Lamothe, an architect with the provincial Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department.
Craig Mosher of WHW was the lead designer for a complex that combines a 1,500-student high school, including an enhanced cafeteria-auditorium with performance space, with a community recreation centre.
“It’s an exciting part of any major project to see the steel up,” Smith-Lamothe said.
“The skeleton of the structure as it now stands makes for an interesting silhouette against the sky.”
The three-storey academic centre will feature a mix of classrooms, an art room, two multi-purpose recreation rooms and an exterior recreation area.
The school will be linked to the community portion of the complex, which will be available for some school use during the day and promises to be a busy spot outside regular school hours.
“The recreation and cultural components in themselves will be huge assets for the community,” Smith-Lamothe said.
New high schools have many standard interior and exterior features, but the design of this complex takes advantage of the topography in a variety of ways.
“It’s already a very interesting building to look at,” Smith-Lamothe said.
The new school and community centre is to open in the fall of 2013.
About $37 million of the total $48-million cost is coming from the province, with the municipality contributing the rest, roughly $11 million.