The Campus Affairs Committee convened last week to review the timeline of the William G. Davis building renovations, as well as establishing a new extra departmental unit for urban environments.
The renovations for a new food court and meeting place within the Davis building are set to begin this year. However, demolition will not start until March of 2018 with the projected completion date being August of 2019.
The renovated areas will encompass the current “meeting place” in Davis and the TFC.
According to Paul Donoghue, the chief administrative officer, the original project was proposed in 2006 but put on hold as the campus experienced rapid expansion and the need for new learning spaces increased.
Donoghue continued to say that the construction will be completed in phases in order to keep part of the current Davis food court available to students during the 20-month construction period.
The area will be thoroughly sectioned off at the time of demolition, in an effort to minimize as much noise as possible with some of the construction taking place at night.
The result of the renovations is expected to greatly increase the amount of seating areas within the Davis building, and will be utilizing the former registrar space with the attempt to maximize capacity.
It’s expected that the renovations will be able to host 10 additional food vendors. However, it has not been confirmed at this time if the new food locations will be supplied from Chartwells or outside corporations.
In addition to the renovated food court, the administration aims to update the main entrance to the Davis building. The current entrance will be extended outward towards the bus lanes in order to provide a larger vestibule within the building. The project will also be raising the pavement outside the main entrance, in order to eliminate the high steps and improve the building’s accessibility.
Donoghue stated that no parking spaces outside of Davis will be compromised or lost. However, a refiguration of the parking spaces will take place.
The project also strives to update the existing washrooms in Davis. When pressed by the committee about increasing the amount of restrooms available and extending the restrooms throughout the building, Donoghue said the locations of bathrooms still needs to be discussed with the contractors.
The committee carried the design development and construction motion to be passed forth to the governing council in October 2017. The CAC did not specify the projected total cost of the overall project.
The committee also reviewed the implementation of a new extra departmental unit for a Centre for Urban Environments, which is still under development by the Office of the Vice-Principal Academic and Dean.
The new centre is a multi-disciplinary research unit with a specific area of research in a particular area of academic work and is meant to encourage research and scholarly interest in the area established.
“The Centre for Urban Environments will address urban environmental challenges by supporting research, collaborations, training, teaching and outreach missions in this area,” read the committee’s agenda.
“This will be accomplished by bringing together faculty and organizations in diverse units across all three campuses at U of T, and by assisting with the development of new courses, experiential learning opportunities, and academic programs.”
The program is currently seeing involvement with anthropology, biology, geography, and political science departments.
Amrita Daniere, UTM’s vice-president academic and dean, stated that the CUE will exist as a virtual space that will hold an online presence. Students can reach out to the faculty involved in the project to learn of new opportunities.
The committee passed the motion to establish the CUE by January 1st of 2018.