Renovation Update: What's happening at the Meeting Place

This rendering shows the new entrance to the Davis Building at UTM
Friday, January 19, 2018 - 3:31pm
Blake Eligh

Renovations to one of U of T Mississauga’s original buildings are officially underway with the beginning of major renovations to the William G. Davis Building. Built in 1972 and formerly known as the South Building, Davis was the second building constructed for Erindale College.

Little has changed over the years in the Meeting Place, the central public space in the building that  has long been the go-to spot for students to study, grab a bite or meet with friends between classes. That is about to change with a multi-phase construction project that will create a revitalized Meeting Space, a new food services area, a new Student Services plaza and a new front entrance to the Davis Building. 

Architectural rendering of interior of Meeting Place shows a large overhead skylight and a wide open space with tables and benches.“This project reimagines the entire Meeting Place into a student-focused hub,” says Greg Karavelis, senior facilities planner with UTM’s Facilities Management & Planning department. “It will breathe a new life into this space.”

Over the past few weeks, crews have demolished the former Office of the Registrar and are currently demolishing the seating area in the Meeting Place. According to Karavelis, this phase of demolition will be complete in late February when construction crews will begin work on the new food court and seating space.

The first phase of construction will include redevelopment of the seating space, and construction of a new food services area on the site of the original Meeting Place. Seating capacity will more than double to 900 seats, up from the current total of 400, and will include the addition of an enclosed dining room in the courtyard behind Tim Horton’s. “The new space will include fluid seating arrangements that will make the space feel bigger and allow people to have group meetings or meet one-on-one away from the main space,” Karavelis says. “This will be a new hangout place or living room for the university.” There will be plenty of options to recharge, too. “We were mindful that students need power options for charging devices,” he says.

Archtitural drawing of the exterior of the Davis Building courtyard with the addition of a new enclosed dining room addition.The first phase will also move food services from its current location at the Temporary Food Court to wrap around the corner formerly occupied by the Subway food station. The new space will feature 10 food outlets, as well as a new prep kitchen to be built in the space between Davis and the RAWC.

“Food services will remain open, so there will be no down-time for students while this construction is underway,” he says. Tim Horton’s outlet will remain operational throughout the process and other food services will move over to the new space in time for the fall 2018 semester. “We won’t decommission the TFC until the new space is up and running.”

The second phase of the project will renovate the Temporary Food Court once the Meeting Place renovations have concluded. The area currently occupied by food stations will become a new seating area, along with two stand-alone food kiosks. The current seating area will be transformed into a new space that gathers Student Services offices together. Plans also include new and renovated washrooms in the Temporary Food Court and adjacent main hallway. “We will add new washrooms, including all-gender, barrier-free and multi-stall men’s and women’s washrooms,” Karavelis says.

The third and final phase of the project will involve exterior renovations to the entrance of the Davis Building, with improved accessibility, a new outdoor seating area, landscaping and the addition of large new vestibule and exterior canopy. “This will provide a new face for the building so it has the kind of presence it deserves,” Karavelis says. The third and final phase of improvements is to be completed by September 2019.

Moriyama & Teshima Architects conducted the initial feasibility study for the project and were contracted to create the design for the revitalized space. The project will aim for LEED certification at the Silver level or better. The Canadian architecture firm also designed UTM’s Innovation Complex, which opened in 2014.