View of entryway and main ramp from street
Louvred trellis above classroom windows, view from sidewalk
Louvred trellis above classroom windows, view from sidewalk
Exterior threshold of entryway, interior gymnasium
Library and reading space on upper level

Sacred Heart Catholic Elementary School

Kearns Mancini's design for a new elementary school in Marmora, Ontario, was one which sought to improve community engagement by means of creating a building that was placed in direct relationship to the vital buildings in the surrounding context.

The design of the elementary school encompassed strategic construction phasing throughout the course of the design and build, in order to allow the exisitng school to continue operation. After construction was completed, the exisitng school was demolished. The new school is a two-storey building that creates a dynamic street presence towards the main street, which elevates visitors into its covered entryway and into the building.


Featured in the project are five classrooms, a gymnasium, library, computer lab, as well as office spaces, break-out rooms and staff rooms. Also included in the building is a large kindergarten room with two built-in washrooms. The kindergarten has direct access to both the main entry on the north-west corner of the building and the enclosed play area to the south, allowing it to operate independantly from the rest of the building. The exterior of the building is clad in materials that are responsive to the local context, with stone-face concrete masonry units, cement board, and multi-coloured spandrel glazing.


Marmora, Ontario

Completed, 2009

Building Size
150,000 sq. ft.

Project Value
$4 Million

Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board

Tom Arban

Project Team
Jonathan Kearns, Peter Ng, Lucy O’Connor, Erika Zaphiratos

View across main street

On the southern-facing side of the building, the envelope is designed to respond to the strong solar exposure through a wooden louvre system that cantilevers above large windows for each classroom. These louvres prevent strong sun rays from disrupting classroom activity and concentration, while allowing natural light to enter the spaces. This facilitation of natural light within classrooms has been noted to improve student performance, behaviour and mood. Kearns Mancini was retained by the client to re-design the landscaping, paving, and miscellaneous restoration work in order to successfully relocate and re-establish the school playground as an actively used space within the community.

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