South Building renovation provides room for future growth

Friday, December 18, 2009 - 11:34am
Jane Stirling

Come the new year, two academic departments and a number of administrative offices will be in new digs in renovated space in the South Building.

The departments of geography and sociology as well as the offices of the vice-president and principal, chief administrative officer, dean and vice-principal (academic), and campus police will move into a renovated South Building third-floor wing, formerly occupied by the U of T Mississauga library. A third academic department - political science - will move into the space in May, 2010. The library moved to the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre in 2007.

With the campus expansion we've experienced over the past number of years, we have been squeezed for space, says Paul Donoghue, chief administrative officer. This renovation of the South Building gives us room to accommodate current staff, faculty and students, and provides wonderful options for future expansion.

Professor Gage Averill, dean and vice-principal (academic), says the renovations will help in the recruitment of students, staff and faculty and will provide the kind of space that facilitates a rich departmental academic life. Faculty will want to spend research time in the renovated offices. In fact, we're already showing this space to search candidates in the departments to help seal the deal!

The renovated space includes 79 private academic and administrative offices, conference and colloquia rooms, dedicated space for student academic societies, graduate student work space, staff and student lounges, computer labs and numerous skylights that brighten the interior. U of T Mississauga will seek a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED®) designation, as has become the standard with any new construction on campus.

The 3,358 square-metre renovation, led by Peter Ng of Kearns Mancini Architects Inc., includes a two-storey atrium garden. I'm very impressed with the project, says Donoghue. From the initial architectural concept through to the execution, this has been a first-rate job. The general contractor, Govan Brown, has set a new standard in terms of the quality of the work and the finishes. Our project manager, Christopher Rizzo of U of T capital projects, did a terrific job of guiding the project to completion.

With the completion of the third-floor renovation, plans are now under way to develop a student services plaza on the second floor of the South Building that will link with a renovated Meeting Place.

The student services plaza will provide students with a central location for services such as student recruitment and academic support as well as personal, health and academic counseling and transitional year programs.