The University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus is dealing with two wind-related incidents that occurred within a month of each other.
On April 28, UTSC email accounts received a safety warning cautioning against debris flying loose from the Science Wing’s roof. A similar warning was sent May 18 about loose metal envelope panels of the Arts and Administration Building.
Repairs are underway, but students are wary of their safety.
Director of Campus Safety and Security, Caroline Rabbat, who sent both emails, cited high winds as the main reason behind the loose Science Wing roof fragments.
Asked about why the Science Wing was singly affected out of all the university’s buildings, she replied, “I imagine it’s a culmination of factors, […] sometimes it’s the force of the wind, where it’s coming from, or it can be a combination of where it hit.”
But others doubt harsh weather conditions were the sole cause.
“I understand that it was really windy that day, but how come the Science Wing was only the building affected?” asked Michael Ha, a fourth-year cell and molecular biology major. “Surely it’s not a coincidence that it’s more than four decades old.”
The Science Wing, designed by iconic architect John Andrews, was first opened in January 1966 and has undergone further construction ever since. The damage it suffered from the wind was reported to have been repaired immediately. The attached Science Building, opened in 2008, was not affected.
Meanwhile, the Arts and Administration Building’s envelope failure is currently under investigation according to Director of Capital Projects, Robert Dernowski.
“[An] investigation is in progress and we have yet to establish [the cause] — whether it’s the weather, workmanship or failure of the design,” said Dernowski.
Completed in October 2005, the Arts and Administration Building is past its five-year warranty.
“We are working with the original consultants, the general contractor who built the building, the subcontractors who fabricated and provided the panels and the installers of the system in a very amicable way […] to resolve the problem at no cost to the university.”
Despite UTSC’s reassurance, third-year student Jason Pagaduan is concerned.
“As someone who spends a lot of time going from building to building, I’m glad that repairs have already been done, or are in the process of being done,” said Pagaduan. “But I can’t help but be mindful that the same events might occur again, and possibly involving different buildings.”
There is no reported connection between the two incidents.