Four practice rooms in the Edward Johnson Building (EJB) are closed as a result of renovations to the electro-acoustic music studio (EMS), a recording space for music students located in the basement of the building. There are around 30 total practice rooms available to students at the Faculty of Music.
Renovations to the EMS, part of a $190 million upgrade to U of T’s research labs, called Lab Innovation for Toronto, are expected to conclude by the end of November.
Kevin Howey, Associate Dean of Operations at the Faculty, told The Varsity that “most of what’s happening now is inside the EMS space, so the impact on the surrounding area really has been reduced greatly.”
Howey stated that in addition to creating an environment for students to learn about new music technology, the renovations to the EMS had the goal of installing more heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning into the area to bring “more air” into the space.
Howey also suggested that a closure of one more practice room might be on the way. “It could be one small section where [the construction crew] may have to run some ducting,” he said. “We’ll need to plan a few days when one of the other practice rooms will essentially have this ducting added through the ceiling.”
As a solution to the closed practice rooms, eight more have been added on the third floor of 90 Wellesley Street West, said Howey. “So we’re actually four practice rooms ahead of where we were.”
Jonathan Wong, a Music Education student majoring in the clarinet, noted the distracting drilling noises and dust plaguing the rooms during construction. “They’ve opened up an additional four practice rooms over there, which is nice, but it’s not as convenient for us,” he continued.
Wong also said that the rooms still available in the EJB are being completely booked up. “I was bugged because my favorite practice room has been taken over,” he said.
Rebekah Tam, President of the Faculty of Music Undergraduate Association (FMUA), said that the closing of the four rooms hasn’t had much impact on student life because people are used to a first-come, first-serve online booking service for practice rooms.