École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School

Kingston, ON

The design of this new elementary school building represents the successful resolution of number of issues related to: forming a new school for two distinct former school communities, creating the welcoming feel of a small school, fitting into a new low rise residential development and designing a first rate learning environment.   The consolidation of two post war schools and new growth in the immediate area of the new school site created the opportunity for the board to build the new Sir John A. Macdonald Public School. A key challenge for ZAS was to lead an extensive community engagement process to distil the critical needs and priorities.  It is though this involved process that the designed developed - a design that has been recognised as a new welcoming and improved home for the united school community.  The new school is also significantly larger than the former schools to address size concerns, and has been formed into learning pods. These pods are groupings of three to four classrooms around a resource centre.  These pods of classrooms promote project based learning, team teaching and other collaborative approaches that had developed in the former schools and break down the larger school into smaller learning communities.  The exterior of the school has also been formed into distinct volumes to better integrate into the low rise residential context of the neighbourhood and to again present the impression of a small school feel.  To achieve first rate learning spaces, energy savings and environmental objectives the school features a number of “green” building technologies. These include, low VOC materials, high rates of ventilation, and natural daylight is provide throughout the building, heat recovery from centralised mechanical plant and improved levels of building insulation.   (in joint venture with Colbourne & Kembel, Architects Inc.)


Limestone District School Board


76,397 s.f.

3 Floors


New Elementary School


Music and Art Rooms

Special Education

General Purpose Room

Stage and Forum


Administrative Support

Sustainable Features

Low VOC Materials

High Ventilation Rates

Natural Daylighting

Heat Recovery

Improved Building Insulation


  • People's Choice Award, Livable City Design Awards (2014)
  • Award of Excellence, Livable City Design Awards (2014)