UTM recently embarked on two major building projects. The new Instructional Centre and Health Sciences Complex, expected to open in 2011, received support from both the provincial and federal governments to the tune of $70 million in infrastructure funding.

We are delighted that the federal and provincial governments are providing support to enhance instructional capacity and laboratory space at our campus, said Ian Orchard, vice-president and principal of UTM.

On-campus construction sites include parking lot 2 (permanently closed on August 15 and will now house the Instructional Centre) and the lot adjacent to the South and CCT building, where the Health Sciences Complex will be built.

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The new Instructional Centre will feature a new auditorium, lecture theatres, classrooms, and computer labs as well as renovated science teaching labs. It will accommodate more students and provide more study space on campus, a necessary expansion after last decades significant enrolment growth, which is expected to continue.

In addition to its new teaching spaces, which include a 500-seat auditorium, three 150-seat classrooms and ten 30-seat classrooms, the Instructional Centre will feature up-to-date digital and internet technology and offer students improved bandwidth and advanced software and tools such as clickers.
The new Instructional Centre and revitalized labs will provide classrooms and instructional facilities equipped with leading edge technology and equipment, said Orchard. This project will play a key role in helping us educate the next generation of highly skilled individuals who are ready to meet the challenges of our knowledge-driven global economy.

A downside to this project is that parking on campus will be limited. All 300 spots in lot 2 have been closed along with another 100 spots in lot 9. UTM chief administrative officer Paul Donoghue cautions students, faculty and visitors that they may need to walk further to reach their destination. In an e-mail sent to all UTM students on August 13, students were warned about the permanent closure of parking lot 2.

There’s no way to avoid this. Its a huge challenge for us. The excess parking capacity we had last year, based on detailed counts of vehicles on campus during peak hours, will make up for some of the spaces being taken out of service. And we will also be looking at contingency plans in the event that parking demand far outstrips availability, said Donoghue, recognizing the inconvenience this will cause to commuters

Donoghue also noted that he plans to explore options for a parking structure that doesnt pave over green space. The University of Toronto, he claims, is committed to campus expansion in an environmentally responsible manner. Thus, construction will be contained within the campus inner circle, which is consistent with UTMs Grow Smart, Grow Green philosophy and should ensure the protection of the woods and grasslands beyond Outer Circle Road.

Sustainability has proven to be a very important feature of the new Instructional Centre. According to Donaghue, both the Instructional Centre and Health Sciences Complex will be designed to meet or exceed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver rating or equivalent.

In addition to energy-efficient lighting, computer and AV equipment, water-efficient fixtures and the use of durable, local materials with renewable or recycled content, the Instructional Centre will feature a geothermal heating and cooling system. This system, however, will require new pipes to be installed, meaning that the sports field near parking lot 2 will also be temporary closed in late fall 2009. The groundbreaking ceremony for the Instructional Centre will be held on October 2, 2009. The Instructional Centre will be completed by March 31, 2011 and the Health Sciences Complex by late summer of 2011.

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