– The GTA Construction Report Special Feature
The Bethesda Niagara Family Centre, which achieved substantial completion in May, will provide a central location for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families.
General contractor Brouwer Construction Ltd. has overseen the 27,000 sq. ft., two-storey project for just under a year.
“All of the subtrades and suppliers have been efficient and on time,” says Brouwer project manager John Teeuwsen. “That meant we were able to get all of the exterior hard surfaces completed before winter and the building fully closed in by this time.”
He says getting materials to site on time is critical, not only in achieving the schedule, but also for achieving Brouwer’s high building envelope standards. “When we have the window and door frames installed and then can spray foam, we achieve higher levels of air tightness than if those components have to be added later because they were not available on time.”
While the design and functionality of the building were straightforward, he says there are several unique components that address end users’ needs. These include indoor water tables for play, a gymnasium featuring a rubberized floor as a physical therapy space, and a rubberized outdoor play area. Secure stairwells and controlled access to specific areas will also meet the needs of staff and user groups, as will the larger than normal, 34 in. doors.
Teeuwsen says another unique feature is the building’s exterior canopy and translucent deck comprised of Kalwall. Kalwall’s website says the product provides “well-balanced, natural daylight with the help of millions of prismatic glass fibres embedded in the panel’s translucent face sheets” for a “balanced, diffuse wash of glare-free, usable light, deep within spaces.”
The project has succeeded with primarily Niagara area trades. Teeuwsen says Brouwer has been very pleased with the cooperation of everyone on the project, including the owner, architect and engineer, who have all pulled together to ensure its success.
Bethesda currently serves more than 800 children and youth under the Autism umbrella and has a wait list of more than 900. Programs offered from the Family Centre will include autism consultation, behavioural support, developmental assessment, respite care, autism intervention and applied behavioural analysis for children between the ages of two and 18.