The school year has arrived with some construction at UTSC still in progress. Currently, two projects with a focus on accessibility for students are underway.

UTSC Media Relations Officer Don Campbell provided some insight to the newest addition.

Highland Hall is designed in a way to really serve the needs of our students by enhancing the teaching and learning environment at UTSC. It will add student study spaces, modern classrooms, a new café, and plenty of places for students to just sit, relax and hang out,” he said in an email.

The building will face Military Trail and will be one of the first things people see when they arrive on campus.

“In many ways it will be an exciting new gateway to our campus,” Campbell said.

Highland Hall will include unique and modern architectural features that UTSC “can’t wait to unveil.”

Here’s the breakdown of what is to come at UTSC:

Highland Hall

Expected Completion: mid-November

This 134,216-square-foot, five-storey building underwent construction to add 175 new student study spaces, a student commons space, administrative offices for the social sciences department, one lecture hall with 230 seats, two classrooms with 25 seats each, one classroom with 34 seats, and graduate teaching labs on the second to fifth floors.

Both the interior and exterior of the hall’s athletic centre have undergone renovation to become a multipurpose space. It will now also hold events, conferences, and exams.

Highland Hall opened its doors on Monday, September 10 for only lectures and tutorials situated in the lower-level classrooms, lecture halls, and washrooms found at HL001, HL006, HL008, and HL010.

Unfortunately, the rest of the building remains under construction. The building will reopen in stages.

Carrel desks and lounge furniture will be ready in the Student Commons by late October. Hall’s café, which will offer sandwiches, pastries, and specialty coffee, is expected to open in late October as well.

Accessibility Path

Expected Completion: Unknown

A new accessible path will run through Scarborough’s Highland Creek Valley and connect the campus upstairs to the wilderness down below.

The trail is expected to be 500 metres long, with a slope of no more than a five per cent grade. This will allow better access for those who use mobility devices.

This path has been designed to meet the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.