Construction has begun on a new 750-student residence building at UTSC that is expected to be completed by fall 2023. The new space will be on the site of a current campus parking lot located at 3300–3316 Ellesmere Road.
UTSC proposed the nine-storey residence building in 2017, and the project was approved by the city in July 2020, with construction originally planned to start in August. The residence will double the current residence capacity at the UTSC.
The structure will be the first residence built at UTSC since Joan Foley Hall in 2003. Joan Foley Hall is UTSC’s sole apartment-style residence, alongside 13 townhouse residences, which serve as another option for students.
Residential floors will be arranged into three sections, or ‘communities,’ that will vary in colour and design. The building will include a mix of single- and double-occupancy bedrooms, fully accessible suites, and kitchen, lounge, and study spaces.
The building will also feature a rooftop garden and terrace, an event space, and rooms dedicated to workshop-style learning.
The residence’s dining facility will provide UTSC with students access to meals seven days per week for the first time, as campus food services are currently open only from Monday through Friday.
The residence will also house the Office of Student Experience & Wellbeing and Student Housing & Residence Life, which currently operate out of UTSC’s Arts and Administration Building and the Residence Centre, respectively.
In an email to The Varsity, Andrew Arifuzzaman, UTSC’s Chief Administrative Officer, wrote that “Expanding our residence spaces has been a priority for the University, to meet a major need at UTSC, and provide a hub of community that meets the needs of our students.”
“The project showcases U of T’s commitment to providing dynamic approaches to learning and living, and investing in infrastructure that makes our campus an environment for excellence.”
Designing for low energy consumption
Pomerleau, a Canadian contractor, was selected earlier this year to design and build the space to the Passive House standard. To be certified as a Passive House, a building must have low energy consumption. The residence will be one of North America’s largest Passive House projects.
In a comment to ReNew Canada, Patrick Stiles, Vice-President and Regional Manager of Pomerleau, noted that the company is “very proud to be partnering with the U of T Scarborough” for the delivery of the Passive House building, one Stiles explained is “set to be one of the most eco-efficient in the country.”
“Our focus on building innovative and sustainable buildings has never been stronger, and we are excited to work with the U of T Scarborough to create a safe, healthy and inspirational living environment for its students,” Stiles remarked.
Energy-efficient features will include triple-glazed windows and walls with improved thermal performance and continuous insulation. This is estimated to result in between 40–60 per cent energy savings in heating and cooling compared to conventional buildings. It will also maximize light exposure to the outside campus.
These features are part of a larger goal by U of T to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 37 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030. The Landmark Project at UTSG also recently broke ground, including a geothermal field that is expected to help achieve that goal.
In a video message to UTSC students, U of T Vice-President and UTSC Principal Wisdom Tettey explained that the residence’s creation is part of Inspiring Inclusive Excellence, UTSC’s recently launched five-year plan. Tettey added that the building “shows U of T’s commitment to addressing climate change.”
Addressing the UTSC community, U of T Principal Meric Gertler described the new residence as an “act of hope,” and one that is “especially welcome” given the circumstances of the pandemic. Claire Kennedy, U of T’s Governing Council Chair, referred to the building as an “iconic structure,” noting that it “will serve to promote a sense of belonging and lifelong stewardship.”