After months of anxious waiting, the Academic Resource Center (ARC) has arrived at the U of T Scarborough Campus. The official opening was Nov. 5, followed by the 31st annual Watts lecture featuring accredited journalist Joe Schlesinger.
U of T President Robert Birgeneau commented that “great universities inspire the imagination and stimulate the mind,” and as such the newest addition to UTSC in 20 years has revitalized the UTSC spirit and motivated in its students to last, if not for the rest of the year, at least until exam time.
One of the many presenters of the evening, UTSC Vice President John H. Youson, called the copper-covered building “a shiny new penny.” The new addition was completed 15 per cent under budget and holds one of the first digital libraries in Canada, along with countless study areas. The ARC also contains a writing centre, career centre, and a 500-seat lecture hall. The writing centre is already filling up fast with students in need of literary assistance, and helpful seminars have been re-established at the career centre.
SCSU President Dan Bandurka commented that “as students we can’t be anything but excited.” After patiently putting up with classes in the gym, blaring fire alarms, faulty lighting, and the absence of a much-needed library, students and faculty are thrilled to have a clean, bright space to work and study in.
Architect Brian MacKay-Lyons worked hard perfecting this building to the needs of the students. As he put it, he “designed this building with the people who are going to be using it [in mind].” Eventually the outside copper will turn a greenish colour from exposure to oxygen, which he believes will compliment the rest of UTSC nicely, and the inside uses concrete, cherry wood, and steel to highlight the rest of the campus’s modern concrete style.
In addition to the career and writing centres, there is an enormous 500-seat theater that can be used for performances or academic lectures. This unique hall is the biggest one in Scarborough. Its acoustics were demonstrated during the official opening, when a male-female operatic duo took to the stage and performed alongside a piano accompaninent without a single microphone.
Excitement was all any of the presenters could talk about. Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities and Scarborough’s MPP Mary Anne Chambers exclaimed “There is so much happening on this campus and it’s really really exciting! The ARC is not only amazing to look at, it’s an amazing achievement.”