Pomerleau – The Learning Centre

Pomerleau is no stranger to the University of Ottawa campus. The Quebec-headquartered contractor, which maintains eight regional offices throughout eastern Canada, has completed several major contracts for the higher learning institution in recent years. These include the construction of the university’s Advanced Research Complex, a science research facility; and the Desmarais Building, a 12-storey tower housing the university’s School of Management, Centre on Governance, School of Political Studies and Department of Economics.

The contractor is now working on its latest contribution to the university. The $83 million Learning Centre at the University of Ottawa broke ground in June 2015. The six-storey building will connect to the campus’ existing Lamoureux Hall, which houses the university’s Faculty of Education, School of Psychology and its Centre for Research on French Canadian Culture. The building is anticipated to be open to students at the end of 2017.

“This location choice will contribute to the campus’ transformation,” the university says. The Learning Centre is part of an ongoing revitalization effort at the university’s southern end that includes the opening of a new campus light rail station, as well as the renovation of an existing campus building and the construction of a new Social Sciences Building. 

Interactive Learning

The Learning Centre will house 26 classrooms, four of which will be “hybrid classrooms” used for active, collaborative learning. “Hybrid learning,” pioneered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, encourages collaborative learning between students and professors. The classrooms will include areas where groups of students can work together and interact with professors through computers.

Two of the new classrooms will accommodate 120 students, while the others will have a capacity of 60 students. Each will be equipped with workstations that seat nine team members and feature video monitors, cameras, microphones and computers to facilitate teamwork, particularly in problem-solving exercises. 

The Learning Centre will house two 350-seat lecture halls, as well as 20 associated study rooms. In addition, 800 study spaces will be set aside for individual or group work.

The building’s ground floor will include a new food court with capacity for 350 students as well an outdoor dining patio. “The goal is to make the centre a meeting place for students, a place where they can eat, discuss, study and socialize,” University Associate Vice President Lucie Mercier-Gauthier stated. “We really need this kind of space on campus.” 

Strong Foundation

Pomerleau utilized the Laticrete Supercap system during foundation work on the project. Laticrete Supercap is a pumpable and pourable low alkali cement-based premium self-leveling underlayment based on a proprietary mineral binder system, says Supercap Ontario Ltd., the specialty contractor that applied the system. Supercap Ontario uses a specially designed pump truck to pour the mixture.

The system can be applied over concrete and other types of flooring to finish and level uneven floor surfaces. Laticrete Supercap was previously applied during Pomerleau projects in Montreal and Toronto to correct rained-out floors and other problems.

Laticrete Supercap was used to address issues the contractor faced on the Learning Centre when it came to making the entire floor flat, smooth and continuous. The first of these issues was a slab deflection, and the second involved leveling a large section of concrete where a two-inch mortar bed had been removed.

Supercap Ontario set up outside the building to eliminate silica dust from the building interior. The company then pumped in a self-leveling underlayment to a precise grade. The installation was completed within a single day. 

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