EllisDon – Seneca College King Campus

EllisDon Seneca King picOntario-based EllisDon is designing and building new facilities for Seneca College’s King Campus.

By Kat Zeman

EllisDon is polishing a $71 million crown jewel at Seneca College’s King Campus in Ontario.

The Mississauga, Ontario-based construction and building services company is in the middle of a king-sized expansion project that involves the design and construction of new academic and extracurricular facilities that will increase the college’s range of programs and provide space for an additional 1,450 students.

“EllisDon is excited to be working with Seneca on the project,” says Andrew Anderson, senior project manager. “We have a great history of working together, and this being Seneca’s first use of the public-private partnership delivery model, it provides us with the opportunity to further demonstrate our ability to be flexible and adaptive to their needs.”

Seneca College, in conjunction with Infrastructure Ontario, has contracted EllisDon to design, build and finance the project in King City. During the past 12 years, Ontario has invested roughly $160 billion to improve schools, roads, bridges and transit – the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history.

The public-private partnership involving EllisDon, Seneca College and Infrastructure Ontario calls for the addition of a 200,000-square-foot, three-story addition to the campus. It will house 25 new classrooms, several computer labs and specialty labs for training healthcare practitioners, a library and a learning commons and student study area. It will also feature a new student area with multipurpose athletic and recreation space, gymnasium, fitness center and informal study areas – partially funded by the Seneca Student Federation and the Seneca Athletics Association.

Once completed, Seneca’s King Campus will provide teaching and learning opportunities for more than 5,000 full-time students. The project, which broke ground in fall 2016, is targeted for completion in spring 2018.

Light Weight

Seneca College’s King Campus is being built using European technology that is exclusively available in North America through Steelcon, a Brampton, Ontario-based industry leader in structural steel design and fabrication. EllisDon Seneca King box

“One of the most unique things about this job is that we are using a structural steel system that utilizes what we call SIN beams,” says Anderson. “It’s a lighter beam that can be manufactured to produce the same stiffness and performance qualities, but there is a tremendous weight savings.”

Steelcon describes the SIN beam as a new product that will change the industry standard for conventional steel construction. It consists of a corrugated web, built from steel coils and thin steel flanges constructed from steel flat bars. The result is a lightweight steel member with increased load capacity.

Its use in construction can reduce the weight of a structure by up to 30 percent. Using lightweight materials and robot-automated manufacturing, the SIN beam provides significant cost savings in materials for all types of steel construction projects.

“When you propose using a structural system that may be unfamiliar to others, there is a bit of resistance or apprehension to overcome,” Anderson says. “This is the first time this beam is being used by EllisDon. It’s a bit of innovation that we brought to the job.”

EllisDon has spent more than a year pursuing the Seneca King project. Requests for proposals started in 2014. As many as a hundred team members were involved in putting together the project, Anderson says.

As with any project this size, it has had its challenges. EllisDon had to adhere to strict performance and specification guidelines set out in the contract, which required a significant amount of coordination. From strict compliance and design components to attaining municipal permits and approvals with minimal lead times, the project has seen its share of ups and downs – especially when the weather wasn’t compliant.

“We have been challenged by wet weather and the resulting adverse site conditions in recent months,” Anderson says. “But the site team is working well to address any risk to the project schedule by working closely with the subtrades to implement a strategy whereby early access is provided to work areas out of the original planned sequence.”

Greener Pastures

EllisDon is known for its commitment to the environment. In 2016, the company partnered with seven other influential companies in Canada to develop an industry-led action plan in support of Canada’s national and international climate change commitments. The Carbon Impact Initiative, as it has become known, is bringing together environmentally conscious industry champions and government leaders in hopes of creating strategies and establishing low-carbon built environments in Canada.

Seneca College’s King Campus will be an example of a green initiative. The project calls for LEED Gold standards in the Canada Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. “It’s a sustainable design approach that focuses on locally sourced materials, recycled contents and measures that reduce carbon impact,” Anderson says. “In this day and age, everybody is pushing for green. Every project seems to be moving towards some sort of LEED certification.”  

In 2016, EllisDon was named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. The competition, now in its 10th year, recognizes employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness.

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