Corebuild Construction Ltd. is creating a new learning curve – a unique design for a new Toronto secondary school

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A month-long delay due to COVID-19 shutdowns impacted construction of the new St. Joseph Morrow Park Secondary School, but Corebuild Construction Ltd. is now on track to complete the unique project by September 2020.

Corebuild project manager Alexander Karkar says work is progressing well and the school is on track to be completed by September 2020.

“There were a lot of unknowns when the pandemic hit Ontario and we were already feeling some of the effects of the pandemic prior to this such as longer lead times or short material supplies. By staying open and transparent with our subcontractors, consultants, and owners about the realities of building during the pandemic we have been able to coordinate and safely execute the work. It has been challenging but a true team effort,” Karkar said.

According to Toronto Catholic District School Board officials, the result will be worth the wait.

“The St. Joseph Morrow Park community is eager to move into their new state-of-the-art facility,” said Angela Kennedy, TCDSB vice chair and Ward 11 trustee. “The school’s design and shared spaces will greatly enhance the student learning experience”.

While much of the focus in the school is on the learning space – classrooms, science labs, the library, etc., Karkar says the common area of the building – the forum, library and courtyard – will give students a place to go to relax and contemplate.

“These are the spaces that develop the memories that go with you when you leave the school and what separate this school from the rest,” he said.

The three-storey, 100,0000-sq. ft. facility is at the northwest corner of Bayview and Cummer avenues. It will be the future home of St. Joseph Morrow Park Catholic Secondary School (SJMP), an all-girls school in North York.

The need for a full play field and parking and spatial limitations on the property itself, the decision was made to add a 93-spot parking structure underground.”

Designed by ZAS ARCHITECTS INC, the  shape of the school is unique in that it curves and encloses an internalized courtyard which introduces light and air into an otherwise efficient and compact plan which is capped off with two large green roofs over the atrium and gym.

“Most of the courtyard construction happened during the winter, freeing up landscapers to complete exterior landscaping in the spring season,” Karkar explained. “The courtyard construction was labour intensive, but definitely worth it. The students and staff of St Joseph Morrow Park will be enjoying the space for years.”

Steve Aquino, Antonio Lima, and Maria Bot, form Corebuild’s leadership team, and collectively they bring 100 years of combined knowledge, experience and influence in the construction industry.

“Our clients place their projects in our hands, and this trust drives us to perform beyond expectations,” Aquino said. “Our skilled and accountable staff has a proven passion for building and an exceptional attention to detail, quality and safety.”

“We’re proud of the work we do, and we’re proud of the reputation we’ve established with our clients, subcontractors, suppliers, and communities. No matter the size of the build, we are committed to providing the highest level of client service and satisfaction, which means we’re deeply invested in each construction project as if it were our own.”

The St. Joseph Morrow Park school is a great example of the focus on customer satisfaction and quality work. It is also a unique building that addresses the needs of students and staff.

The estimated construction cost is $28 million, and the project team includes consulting structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers WSP.

school interior
Interior view of the school under construction

Because of the pandemic there were also issues with getting permanent power in place – without permanent power crews wouldn’t be able to test and commission the life safety and mechanical systems. Corebuild worked with the mechanical and electrical trades to come up with suitable workarounds that allowed their work to continue so that they would be ready for when the permanent power arrived.

Aquino says Corebuild uses the latest construction technologies and processes which makes the completion of projects more efficient – even when a pandemic like the one we are experiencing creates certain unique roadblocks.

“Whether it is a million square-foot industrial building or a multi-phased community project, we dive deep into the design and work with our clients and subcontractors vigorously and transparently on the layered details,” he said.

Trustees say the attention to detail is obvious at St. Joseph Morrow and students will soon embrace a 21st Century learning experience.

“The new space will allow students to embrace a 21st century learning experience,” board trustee Kennedy concluded.

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