In 2010, the Limestone District School Board completed a comprehensive ARC process and Condition Assessments of the family of schools surrounding the Sharbot Lake Community.

To address significant declining enrollment, the Board embarked on a plan to merge three existing Elementary Schools and the Sharbot Lake High School into a single, new K–12 facility.

The new school is located on the site of the existing high school, and while the 54,000 m² site at first appeared large enough to easily support this new building, steep terrain, natural wetlands, and existing development restricted the new building to a limited footprint.

The resulting design was a three-storey school building with a second floor gymnasium that pushes into a treed limestone hillside. The academic wing was organized with Kindergartens on the ground floor, elementary classrooms on the second floor, and secondary classrooms occupying the upper floor. Because of the rural nature of Sharbot Lake, the School Board recognized the new facility would function as a community hub as part of the design process. +VG engaged community stakeholders, such as the Sharbot Lake Little Theatre, to ensure the design could accommodate these needs, as well as the academic needs of the Limestone District School Board.

+VG Architects successfully facilitated a series of design meetings, cognizant of the underlying tensions still present as a result of the many difficult decisions the committee had to make during the ARC process. Building a trust relationship with the committee first by acknowledging their difficult work to date, and then focusing on the opportunities ahead, was key to the success of the Schematic Design process.


Sharbot Lake, Ontario


January 2014


65,000 ft²


550 FTS


New Replacement School




David Bell