The project

About the FACE School

Since its founding in 1975, the FACE (Formation Artistique au Cœur de l’Éducation / Fine-Arts Core Education) primary and secondary specialized arts school has developed a unique education model.

The school belongs to the Centre de services scolaire de Montréal (CSSDM) and has approximately 1300 students, a third of whom come from the English Montreal School Board (EMSB).

The historical building that houses the FACE School was built in two phases (1914 and 1924) and was designed by the brothers Edward and W.S. Maxwell, influential architects at the time who were behind many important buildings in the city, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The FACE School is a five-story building with a total floor area of 27,570 m2. It is constructed from solid masonry with structural steel components. The building design is based on classical composition principles and specifically the Beaux-Arts style. Its H-shape separates the boys’ and girls’ wings while providing common spaces in the central area. It is a rare example of neoclassical monumental architecture.

Located in the borough Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, the FACE School is a part of not only the Mount Royal Historic and Natural District (recognized by the province and the city) but also the neighbourhood near Sherbrooke West and University, an area with great heritage value. The building must be rehabilitated according to best conservation practices.

This 100-year-old building has not undergone any major transformations or repairs over the years.

Due to the scope of the required rehabilitation, all FACE students and employees must be relocated for at least the duration of the work.

Core project activities


The FACE building requires a complete rehabilitation due to its advanced state of disrepair. Given the scale of the work, it would not be feasible to carry it out with students and staff on site.

The rehabilitation of the building will be made to preserve its heritage characteristics. Concrete tools will be provided to guide the professionals who are developing the real estate analysis and plans and specifications to help them choose solutions to preserve the building. Concrete tools will be available to professionals who will develop plans and specifications to preserve the exceptional value of the building.


For at least the duration of the rehabilitation work, students and staff will have to be relocated to let the work proceed without constraints. Since the FACE School is a primary and secondary institution, its approximately 1300 students will have to be relocated to two different locations due to the unavailability of buildings large enough to accommodate all students and staff.

A major public infrastructure project

Since the FACE School rehabilitation project represents an investment of over $50 million, it must follow the “Directive sur la gestion des projets majeurs d’infrastructure publique” [Directive on the management of major public infrastructure projects, or the “Directive”] adopted by the Conseil du trésor in 2014.

“The Directive sets out measures to ensure the rigorous management of major public infrastructure projects. It aims to promote best practices in project management so that the right investment choices can be made in quality infrastructure within the established investment limits. It also gives the Cabinet the best information to decide whether a major project is appropriate and ensure that all necessary actions—from the start of a major project to its completion—are planned and carried out.”

Translated from

A public infrastructure project that falls under the Directive must be overseen by the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI).

A school for the future created through an integrated design process (IDP)

An IDP is a collaborative and multidisciplinary process that begins at the start of a construction project. In this case, it is a process between the SQI and project stakeholders. The IDP is guided by clearly defined functional, environmental and economic objectives and covers the life cycle of a building.

The IDP brings together a multidisciplinary team that will quickly and effectively resolve any challenges that may arise during the work.

Timeline of the project



  • A professional firm is retained to develop an overall strategy to rehabilitate the FACE School building.
  • A request is submitted to the Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor for a study of the FACE School rehabilitation project.
  • The project is registered with the Québec Infrastructure Plan (QIP) under the “in planning” category.
  • The Ministère de l’Éducation (MEQ) grants $11 million for the development of the Business File.
  • The Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI) is appointed as the project manager.


    • The Business File is developed and includes a functional program, real estate analyses, a building profile, and preliminary plans and specifications.
    • A call for tenders is issued for professional services and for the construction manager.
    • A series of workshops takes place based on the IDP approach, and consultations are held with users, professionals, staff, parents, and the school administration.
    • The project’s vision and guiding principles are adopted.
    • The building analyses, building profile and functional program are submitted.
    • Relocation: The sites for the transitional FACE primary and secondary schools are announced.
    • 2023: Submission of the Business File.

*More details will be added to this section over the course of the project.



  • Approval of the Business File by the Government’s Cabinet.
  • Preparation of the plans and specifications.
  • Launch of calls for tenders for the work.
  • Relocation of the school community to the FACE transitional schools.
  • Start-up of the project.

*More details will be added to this section over the course of the project.



  • Turnover of the renovated building.
  • Corrections to any construction deficiencies.
  • The school community returns to the renovated FACE School building.
  • Inauguration of the new school.

* More details will be added to this section over the course of the project.


Due to its complexity, scale, cost and particular characteristics, the FACE School rehabilitation project involves many stakeholders. 

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