Foothills Composite High School Modernization

Williams Engineering (WE) partnered with Group 2 Architecture Interior Design Ltd on the renovation of the Foothills Composite High School in Okotoks. The project included a complete replacement of the mechanical and electrical systems, which had reached the end of their service life. This project also included a modernization of the interior and a partial roof replacement.

Mechanical and electrical engineering services were provided for the system design and replacement, structural engineering in support of the interior architectural revisions and building envelope engineering services for the partial replacement of the roof.

All exterior lighting and interior lighting were upgraded to energy-efficient LED, and modern controls were implemented to further reduce the energy consumption of the building. The fire alarm, emergency lighting, wireless, public address and communication systems were all replaced with new ones. Approximately 30% of the electrical distribution was replaced with new, and approximately 70% of the power layouts were revised to suit the requirements of the entirely renovated school. The mechanical control systems were also upgraded from pneumatic to digital controls.

One of the greatest challenges faced was that the school had to remain in operation during the large-scale renovation. The renovation had to be phased, and the various systems had to be designed to accommodate the transition of the system and maintain occupancy.

The existing roof had a history of leakage resulting in damage to interior spaces, loss of classroom utilization and damage to contents.  The roof had multiple levels with expansive roof areas that interconnect with varying cladding types, including glazing, skylights and masonry.  A detailed and thorough review of the existing conditions, an understanding of when and where the roof had failed in the past, and the history of such failures were very important for this project. The data that WE collected ensured that the new roof provided the expected watertight integrity for the newly modernized interior. The new roof design considered optimum thermal values, proven roof system types, improved drainage, appropriate roof traffic definitions and long-term warranties.

This project proved to be a complicated endeavour. Nonetheless,  Williams Engineering enjoyed working on modernizing, designing, and revising exterior and interior systems. Foothills Composite High School is now benefiting from a more sustainable building, which will ideally enhance learning and gathering spaces.