More changes may soon be coming to University College through the ongoing UC Revitalization plan.
According to a report presented to the Planning and Budget Committee by the UC Revitalization Project Planning Committee, “Approval is currently being sought to include the design and implementation of additional scope totaling 408 net assignable square meters.”
This additional project scope includes several new proposed design, construction, and cost changes to the original set of plans.
One of the major changes outlined in the report includes relocating the college’s library, Laidlaw, to the East and West Halls located in the main building. The space will then be occupied by the School of Public Policy and Governance.
The revitalization plan will also see the construction of a second elevator to serve the building, in an effort to “radically increase accessibility,” said University College Principal Donald Ainslie.
With the additional project scope, the elevator is to be upgraded to a full-service elevator from the previously proposed limited-access lift, which would have required manned operation. The elevator tower is now to be located adjacent to the northwest corner of the central tower at UC.
As a result of the changes, there will be several classroom relocations, including the conversion of UC 371 and UC 373 to the librarian’s office, the relocation of the mail room to the current Chief Administrative Operator’s office at UC 158, and the renovation of UC 375 as a faculty office. Classrooms UC179 and UCA101 are also set to be renovated and restored as part of the revitalization.
Funding for the revitalization has already been acquired, said Ainslie. Alumni donations formed a significant chunk of the funding sources, such as those from Edmund Clark and Paul Cadario, he explained.
“Various parts of the university recognize the significance of this project and wanted to contribute,” continued Ainslie. “So we have funds from the central university’s budget, from Arts and Science and then UC has put some of its own operating funds as well.”
The University College Literary and Athletic Society (UC Lit) will also be contributing funding towards the construction of a third floor cafe as well as additional student lounge space between the East and West Hall, after UC Lit members voted in favour of a building revitalization levy in a referendum that took place in March 2016.
The additional plans are to go through several stages of approval before being implemented. They will be looked over by the Business Board and the Academic Board later this month, the Executive Committee on February 6, and finally, the Governing Council for approval on February 15.
Pending Governing Council approval, construction on the additional projects is slated to begin in May 2017, with an estimated completion date of May 2018. Work on some phases of the overall revitalization has already been completed, with UC’s Junior Common Room having undergone extensive renovations during the summer.
Ainslie said that the University College revitalization had been planned to address the amount of underutilized space at the college as well as to rectify some of its accessibility shortcomings while respecting the building’s unique historical value.
“UC is, of course, the iconic building of U of T so we wanted to make sure that when you take a picture of UC, as people do all the time when they’re wanting to illustrate U of T or even higher education in Canada … that the building spoke to what U of T is really all about,” Ainslie said.