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Helping St. Andrew's College Transform its Master Plan from Vision to Reality

Already one of Canada's most prestigious schools, St. Andrew's College in Aurora, ON embarked in 2011 on a Master Plan campaign to expand and modernize across its existing campus. The $37M effort touched almost every part of the campus, which was completed in 2015. Part of this effort involved expanding and upgrading the school's Centre for Leadership, Innovation & Performance, as well as the food and preparation and dining facilities.

St. Andrew's Centre for Leadership, Innovation & Performance features a new theatre, auditorium, music room and technology lab.

In March 2014, Dalton was entrusted by the school to act as its construction manager to renovate and upgrade the kitchen and servery, dining hall, expand its theatre and modernize its auditorium, music room and technology lab. In addition, Dalton was tasked with creating an outdoor amphitheater and teaching courtyard. In total, the $18.6M project involved adding 44,000 square feet of new space and renovating 15,000 square feet of existing facilities.

St. Andrew's Wirth Centre for Performing Arts (left) and music centre (right).

One innovative feature of the project is the gala lift we installed in the new theatre. Equipped with a mechanical system that allows two rows of seating to drop into the theatre’s stage floor, the gala lift allows the school to expand performance and seating space as required.

The gala lift installed at St. Andrew's (left) can be lowered to accommodate more performance space in the theatre. (Right) The floor can be seen above the two rows of chairs.

Challenges posed by the project included an aggressive schedule (completion in February 2015), student and staff occupancy during construction, substantial renovations that tied into existing structures, and complex enhancements to its live performance theatre.

Applying its Alternative Approach to Building—which involves a considerable effort to understand the ideas and concerns of the client, architect and consultants—Dalton solved these challenges, delivering the project on time and on budget, including $2.1M in owner-approved changes that arose during the construction period.

Throughout the project, Dalton updated the school with regular Definition of Success reports, which measured the project's progress against goals established by St. Andrew's at the outset. This ensured clear, consistent communication and prompt issue resolution with all key project stakeholders: two critical components that led to the project's overall success.

Dalton facilitated regular onsite meetings with trades to discuss progress, goals and issues. Our site manager carried out daily inspections of work at the school, and, any work that was not to standard or in accordance with the construction documents was identified and promptly rectified the work. We also encouraged comments from consultants and our third-party inspector with respect to Quality Control so that issues could be rectified immediately. In addition to our Site Manager, our Project Manager and General Manager of Operations also carried out inspection of work to assess the quality of workmanship. This approach ensured that nothing was overlooked.

Dalton President Andrew Dalton (far right) leads a trade relations meeting alongside the project and site manager during construction at St. Andrew's.

As the construction manager on the project, Dalton assumed all responsibility for the health and safety on the St. Andrew's College work site. Dalton worked closely with the school to ensure health and safety requirements were rigorously achieved while construction took place during the school year. No health and safety incidents occurred during the building process, and staff and students reported minimal disruption as a result of construction.

One key requirement for St. Andrew’s was ensuring the health and safety of students and staff during construction—phases of which were completed during the school season. Dalton implemented a comprehensive Health and Safety Policy to satisfy these requirements. All Dalton employees received training in First Aid, WHMIS, Propane, Fall Arrest, Supervisory Basics and the safe operation of lifts and machines. Additionally, our Health & Safety Policy formed a part of our contracts with the project’s sub-trades.

Dalton Site Manager William Dobson (left) ensures St. Andrew's kitchen staff follows proper health and safety standards during construction.

In addition to the work carried out by our site staff to ensure adherence to our Health & Safety Policy and the rules and regulations established by the Ministry of Labour, Dalton retained the services of a third-party safety consultant. This consultant visited the construction site to carry out regular inspections and liaise with our site staff. Also, our site managers rigorously inspected the sites to ensure that all safety measures were in place. In the end, no health and safety incidents occurred during the project.

Watch the video featuring the work we completed on the banquet hall, kitchen and servery.