No longer will UTSC students have to walk the halls of their campus cramped shoulder to shoulder; the Scarborough campus is in the midst of renovating a section of its south campus, better known as Highland Hall. The project has been allocated a $10 million budget.

As part of the planning initiative, UTSC undergraduate and graduate students played an active role in deciding how the renovation of Highland Hall will reallocate much needed study and leisure space for students. With a student body of around 12,000 students, the population at UTSC is expected to increase by an extra 2,090 students by 2018.

With the construction of the Pan Am Athletic Center on the north side of campus, the original athletics center at UTSC has become vacant and in need of renovation.

The Highland Hall project aims to accomplish this by turning an old gymnasium, locker room, and other facilities into a lecture theatre, registrar’s office, and various classrooms for smaller classes. Furthermore, the Social Science Department at UTSC plans to move into the newly renovated Highland Hall and use the area as the department’s office. Previously located on the campus’s south-west corner, the department claims that the move to Highland Hall is necessary as it continues to add more faculty due to the increased number of students enrolled in the social sciences at Scarborough Campus.

Out of the five operational floors in the renovated Highland Hall, floors two through five will be allocated to the Department of Social Sciences with professors given private offices, teaching assistants sharing offices, and various administrators allocated their own piece of the pie.

There are holes in the details of the project, however. Although it has been allocated $10 million, the projected estimate of the total cost is $945,000. It is unknown where the remaining funds will be spent, and whether students will see any of the benefits which could result from a surplus.

Secondly, Highland Hall is located between the Student Centre on the north end of campus and the main entrance to UTSC located on the east. A large number of UTSC students divide their time between the Student Centre and the campus’ main southern base, which means that many students who do not have a class or professor based in Highland Hall will have little incentive to travel to that area of campus.

The project is expected to be completed in August 2017.

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