Vellore Village Community Centre & St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School
Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
Client : City of Vaughan and York Catholic District School Board
Area : Community Centre: 100,000 sf School: 160,000 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre (6-Lane 25m Lap Pool, Leisure Pool, Therapeutic Whirlpool, Water Slide, Spectator Viewing Area, Changerooms), Gymnasium, Fitness Studios, Library Resource Centre, Science and Computer Technology Space, Multi-Use Community Rooms, Fine Arts Studio, Music Studio, Cafeteria, Administrative and Support Spaces, Outdoor Program (Sports Courts, Sports Fields, Skate Park, Splash Pad)
Completion : August 2005
Associated Architects : ZAS
Located within a 35-acre park surrounded by single-family residences in western Vaughan, Ontario, this school and community centre is a joint venture between the City and the York Catholic District School Board.
Laid out in a roughly H-shaped plan, the program is calibrated to serve its two distinct user groups; School and Community Centre each occupy one of two bar-shaped volumes running from east to west, parallel to one another; the primary volume running between them, joining the two bars, houses the amenities shared by both groups, including the gym, auditorium, and aquatics facility, all arrayed along a grand interior concourse.
The 253,000-square-foot interior is illuminated by generous glazing, including skylights with solar blinds, and finished with a hard-wearing palette of tile, glass, wood, and concrete. The School program, with a capacity of 1,250 students, comprises 31 classrooms, a chapel, a library, a triple gymnasium and change facilities, and a dedicated exercise room. To the north, the Community Centre and its facilities shared with the School include an aquatics centre with a six-lane, 25-metre lap pool, a leisure and teaching pool, a hot pool, a viewing gallery, and spectator bleachers, as well as an additional gymnasium, community program rooms, seniors’ area, youth lounge, preschool rooms, and staff rooms.
Both School and Community Centre make use of the park’s sports fields—including a 400-metre track and field course, a softball diamond, a soccer field, a children’s play area and splash pad, tennis courts, basketball half-courts, and a bocce court. Major programmatic areas pin down the structure’s four corners, with parking and lawn areas buffering the distance between the school and the active sports fields at the centre of the park. Along the major artery of Weston Road, the exterior program includes a skate park and ice-skating area to northeast, while to the southeast, a hardscaped “village square” collects incoming pedestrian traffic into a forecourt area near the entrance to the school.
All told, these facilities and amenities create a gathering place for learning, recreation, and events for both local students and the community as a whole—a school that serves a neighbourhood and a civic hub that serves an entire district.