Keewatin Patricia District School Board
Open Roads Public School

Address (Map): 20 Davis Street, Dryden, Manitoba P8B 1R4 Canada
Sector: Educational
Delivery Type: Design-Bid-Build
MCW Office: Winnipeg
Status: Complete
Sub Categories: Elementary School

Project Description

Open Roads Public School was introduced as a replacement for three older Elementary schools in the community, all of which were determined to exceed their effective life cycles. The new 44,183ft2 school will house 480 students ranging from Kindergarten to Grade Eight. From initial conception, the Keewatin Patricia District School Board mandated that all aspects of the Mechanical and Electrical systems be designed to meet the strictest criteria with respect to energy efficiency, occupant comfort, sound attenuation and durability. MCW, along with LM Architectural Group, provided environmentally responsible mechanical and electrical design for the buildings systems to achieve an impressive 48% performance improvement over the Ontario Building Code for similar buildings, all the while, creating an environment which is extremely conducive to the learning process.

Mechanical Design:

The Keewatin Patricia District School Board continues to lead the way in supporting and implementing new, cutting edge sustainable building strategies. Several technologies implemented in this design, although considered cutting edge by other owner groups, have become quite common place with the KPDSB. For that reason, they are continuing to think out of the box with respect to sustainability.

Displacement Ventilation – Introducing ventilation air at low level and low velocity, and returning at high level reduces the amount of ventilation and cooling air required for the classroom. This strategy saves fan energy at the air handling unit, reduces the demand on heating and cooling equipment, as well as reducing air noise from the ductwork and diffusers.

Desiccant Wheel Technology – Each of the two air handling units which provide ventilation air to the school employ desiccant wheels which reduce the humidity in the air prior to the air passing through the cooling coil. Normally, the cooling coil is responsible for reducing the relative humidity of the supply air by drastically reducing the temperature, and therefore forcing the moisture in the air to condense and often causing such low air temperatures that it needs to be reheated.  By using the desiccant wheel, we reduce the relative humidity prior to entering the cooling coil without lowering the temperature. The school’s chiller capacity was reduced by 30% as a result.

Condensing Boilers providing both Heating Water and Hot Domestic Water – The high efficiency condensing boilers have an integral heat exchanger allowing them to provide both heating water to heat the building, and domestic hot water for sinks, and lavatories. The result is less equipment, as a separate hot water tank is no longer required as well as higher efficiency, due to the fact that there is no storage losses associated with having a separate hot water tank. Traditional atmospheric hot water tanks have an average efficiency of approx. 65%. Utilizing this method, we are able to take advantage of the boilers high efficient operation and achieve an efficiency of over 94%.

Demand Control Ventilation-Ensures that ventilation air is introduced to the occupied spaces only as required. When a classroom is empty, or lightly populated, the air volumes can be scaled back, reducing demand on heating, cooling and ventilation equipment. Conversely, when more fresh air is required in a particular area, the room’s highly intuitive DDC control system allows for the introduction of higher quantities of fresh outdoor air.

Environmental Impact:

Each of the building’s mechanical and electrical systems was designed with the highest level of sustainability and energy efficiency in mind. This results in a performance level which greatly exceeds both the Ontario Building Code as well as the Model National Energy Code for new buildings. The result is reduced operating costs with increased equipment longevity. Energy consumption during the first year of operation is half that of traditionally constructed schools in the division.


Because this project was intended to be a replacement of three existing schools, schedule commitments were made very early on in the construction. Students attending the now surplus schools had nowhere to go should the Open Roads School not be ready for the 2011/2012 calendar year. There was no ‘Plan B.’ Added to the compressed schedule, was the fact that several of the mechanical and electrical design elements had never been attempted in the area previously. Learning curves and deliveries of fairly custom equipment threatened to derail the ambitious schedule on numerous occasions. Close coordination and communication between all Contractors, Owners, Architects and Engineers involved successfully sidestepped any serious scheduling issues, and the students were able to enjoy their new space at the start of the new school year.


Nominated to:
- Association of Consulting Engineering Companies - Manitoba, Building Engineering Awards of Excellence, 2012
- Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards, 2012

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