Simcoe Research Station
Simcoe Research Station, led by the University of Guelph and OMAFRA, is not only an agricultural research laboratory but a source of pride within the surrounding rural community. In 2018, mcCallumSather’s architectural and mechanical engineering team undertook a $3.2M renovation within 8,126 SF of the existing remote campus. We addressed deferred maintenance, operational challenges, interior building upgrades, and laboratory design to resolve the needs of a wide range of users and stakeholder groups as they relate to pomology, pathology, pest management, non-pest management, and berry and nut research.
The project was broken into phases to allow the station to continue to operate throughout the year. The first phase of the project was the renovation of the campus’ auditorium, which serves not only as an educational space for researchers, but as a public forum for Norfolk County farmers to meet, learn about new technologies in agriculture, and socialize. Our team renovated this room and the associated product test kitchen, upgrading lighting, AV/IT amenities, and finishes (renewing original wood details, highlighting structural wood trusses, and exposing a polished concrete floor) to give the space a more cohesive feel.
Within the second phase, our team completed major infrastructural upgrades. We incorporated highly flexible, general work and laboratory areas that meet the varied needs of the user groups while accommodating scalable harvest activities. We specified highly efficient, low-flow fume hoods, custom grinder and autoclave ventilation solutions, mobile casework that is repositionable as space functionality changes, a new fresh air roof-top air handling unit, and exhaust system, and an improved, monitorable building automation system that provides a higher level of quality control. These renovations improve occupant health and safety by preventing the recirculation of air, removing contaminants, and providing pressurized control and directional flow.
The third phase featured the complete replacement and upgrade of ten controlled environment rooms designed for a significant range in temperature. Primarily functioning as cold rooms these spaces are future-proofed for controlled atmosphere agricultural storage, regulating CO2 levels in the air. These new rooms are connected and monitored by the upgraded Building Automation System.
The renovation ensures the Simcoe Research Station is future-ready and equipped to accommodate further upgrades. Review of utilities, consultation with stakeholders and thorough site review of the collocated greenhouse was essential to both right-size the present design and anticipate needs to come. Our site review identified a Booster Pump Station in critical condition, this was replaced as part of the increased project scope to address challenges in operational procedures, reduce water flow, and efficiency of water usage. Our holistic project approach positioned the team to realize both immediate and long term goals for the facility.