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Stantec designing Centre of Excellence in Early Learning for North Island College

The facility will add 75 new childcare spaces and support the training of future early childhood educators


Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design, has been selected to provide integrated design services for the new 19,000-square-foot facility for North Island College’s (NIC) Centre of Excellence in Early Learning.

With an innovative child-focused design, the latest addition to the NIC campus will train future teachers to make a difference in the lives of young children by providing quality care and education for healthy learning and development. This unique multiuse facility will combine education and hands-on learning within an active childcare setting. It brings 75 new childcare spaces as well as innovative teaching facilities for early childhood educators to the campus.

Connecting to surrounding environment
Located on NIC’s forested Comox Valley campus on Vancouver Island, the building will celebrate the spirit of play while blending with NIC’s “campus in the woods” feeling. Large windows that create naturally lit spaces will connect the inside to the outdoor environment. Childcare activity rooms open out onto a covered patio and forested outdoor play area. Using principles of Reggio Emilia philosophy, the childcare spaces and surrounding outdoor play areas act as a “Third Teacher,” providing spaces for discovery, expression, and connection to nature and the larger community.

The centre will give a new, contemporary face to NIC that highlights the “wood-first” approach for British Columbia’s West Coast. An open atrium is at the heart of the building and multipurpose spaces are designed to be shared between NIC, Beaufort Children’s Centre, and the community. The second floor is a mix of instructional classrooms, offices, library space, student lounge, school-age care, and multiuse space. The ground-floor “atelier” workshop and the second-floor multipurpose area will encourage community connections and exchange between educators, students, children, and families.  

Respecting the deep heritage
NIC is situated on the traditional, unceded territories of the combined 35 First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Coast Salish traditions. Building on the rich local Indigenous culture that has flourished for thousands of years, the facility will provide the space and opportunity to integrate K’ómoks First Nation culture and knowledge into early years education. It will be a welcoming, safe, and comfortable space for families, students, and educators, teaching respect for the land and interconnectedness with nature.

“This unique, multifunctional facility at NIC combines education and hands-on learning within an active childcare setting,” said Jody Bielun, childcare design lead and architectural designer for Stantec. “Children and their educators are important to this community. We look forward to providing spaces for discovery and expression with connections to nature and K’ómoks First Nation culture."

Creating spaces for STEM
Stantec continuously helps schools provide facilities that support hands-on learning and training, with related projects such as: British Columbia Institute of Technology Health Sciences Centre, Centennial College - Bombardier Centre for Aerospace and Aviation, Central Michigan University Early Childhood Development Center,

George Brown College - Daphne Cockwell Centre for Health Sciences (with KPMB Architects), and Grand Rapids Community College - Early Childhood Learning Laboratory, among others.

Stantec is ranked as a top 10 design firm by Engineering News Record and Architectural Record and ranked the #1 A/E firm by Building Design + Construction for 11 consecutive years. Learn more about how Stantec designs for the future generation of learners.

About Stantec
Communities are fundamental. Whether around the corner or across the globe, they provide a foundation, a sense of place and of belonging. That’s why at Stantec, we always design with community in mind.

We care about the communities we serve—because they’re our communities too. This allows us to assess what’s needed and connect our expertise, to appreciate nuances and envision what's never been considered, to bring together diverse perspectives so we can collaborate toward a shared success.

We’re designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers, innovating together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. Balancing these priorities results in projects that advance the quality of life in communities across the globe.

Stantec trades on the TSX and the NYSE under the symbol STN. 

Media Contact                                               
Susan Bender                                      
Stantec Media Relations                                   
Ph: (267) 773-9593                                  

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