UTM held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for its original and oldest building, the North Building, which was built in 1967, a time when UTM was still called “Erindale College”.

Deep Saini, the vice-president of U of T and principal of UTM principal, was joined by David Naylor (president of U of T), Richard Nunn (chair of the Governing Council), Harinder Takhar (MPP for Mississauga-Erindale and Ontario’s Minister of Government Services), and Warren Edgar (president of the UTM Alumni Association).

They all gave speeches under a blue tent in front of the construction site where part of the North Building once stood.

The North Building will be reconstructed in two or three phases. The final building will feature four storeys of computer labs, classrooms, a food court, study spaces, and offices for the departments of mathematical and computational sciences and psychology, as well as new theatre and drama studies rehearsal studios and related support space. The construction is currently in Phase A.

The provincial government announced last year that $52.5 million in funding was being granted to renovate the North Building and some teaching labs in the Davis Building.

“This reconstructed facility will make a significant difference in the delivery of educational programs on this campus,” said Saini in his speech. “It will help us accommodate student growth and provide up-to-date facilities that match the wired and digital needs of young people today.”

The North Building was originally meant to be temporary. That “temporary” turned into 45 years.

Naylor, who attended UTM as an undergraduate, remarked that even though the North Building hasn’t won any artistic awards, it plays an important role in UTM’s history.

“The reconstruction will provide our students, staff, and faculty with facilities better suited to their work and more in keeping with their excellence—spaces that will support and inspire them in teaching and learning, discovery, and innovation,” said Naylor.

Saini also commented that the construction projects will help accommodate the growing needs of the UTM population. UTM’s enrolment has doubled in the last 10 years.

“This groundbreaking ceremony marks the continued efforts of the Ontario government to ensure that students from across the province have the best facilities available to them,” said Takhar.

The renovated North Building will be open to students in September 2014.

Phases B and C of the  reconstruction project are yet to be funded.