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U of T: University of Toronto Schools | 20m | 3s | Diamond Schmitt

UrbanFervour

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I've always thought the UTS building has an enormous potential to become the home of a cultural institution or something of that nature.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/

University of Toronto gives eviction notice to school for the gifted
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 28, 2011 3:00AM EDT


A high school created a century ago as a unique testing lab for would-be teachers and a haven for the academically gifted has to pack up and find new digs after the University of Toronto said it will need the downtown space for itself.

The University of Toronto Schools has had a special partnership with the University of Toronto since its inception in 1910: Their programs were linked, and the university sent its student teachers to the “independent” high school, which earned a reputation for creating Rhodes scholars and mathletes.

The U of T, which owns the site on Bloor Street just east of Spadina Avenue, told the high school earlier this month it won’t accept its proposal for a $48-million refurbishment of the aging facility. Instead, it gave UTS until 2021 to find and move to a new space.

The university isn’t sure what it will do with the property, although it plans a redevelopment that would act as a “gateway” to the downtown campus.

In the meantime, UTS board members casting about for a Plan B say they’re disappointed but not surprised. In many ways, this is the latest loosening of the 101-year-old ties between the once-symbiotic secondary and post-secondary institutions. But nostalgic alumni figure this will be the end of a unique inter-institutional relationship.

“It’s a watershed, I think, for the school,” said alumnus Don Schmitt, now a principal at architecture firm Diamond + Schmitt.

“At first blush, yes, it’s a loss.”

The Class of ’71 grad credits the school with helping instill in him a sense of urban wonder after he came to Toronto from northern Ontario. He helped put together the rebuffed proposal, and is helping design the school’s next incarnation – whatever that happens to be.

Alumnus and building committee chair David Rounthwaite said a letter from the U of T earlier this month indicated it had had decided the proposal “was not in the long-term best interest of the university,” and that it didn’t want to pursue a plan that would reserve the site “for a non-university use in perpetuity.”

U of T vice-president of business affairs Cathy Riggall said there are no immediate plans for the site, “beyond a vague idea that this will be important in the future. No timeline, because there is no money.”

The high school is committed to staying downtown, and councillor Adam Vaughan said he’s committed to keeping it in the area. But with real-estate at a premium, finding (and paying for) a new site will be no mean feat.

Mr. Rounthwaite said the school has been in touch with developers about the possibility of partnering to include condo developments on a new site, similar to the model pioneered by North Toronto Collegiate. But in addition to fundraising (a call to alumni has already gone out), the high school plans to negotiate with the university for financial relocation assistance.

So far, Ms. Riggall said, the U of T has offered pro bono real estate staff to help find a site.

Experiments with “laboratory” schools like this have been cropping up for a century or more. Alice Pitt, dean of York University’s faculty of education and herself a graduate of U of T’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, said it’s a seductive idea: Post-secondary institutions get a unique environment and a control group to foster new teachers while giving gifted students special academic attention. But they’re rare for a reason. And, in this case, OISE has grown so much it would need to add more schools to the program.

“They don’t need a lab school; they need a lab school board,” she said. “It’s probably hard because of the different mandates of institutions. … It’s so complicated to work out these relationships.”

But many of those symbiotic academic relationships continue – Jim Slotta is proof of that.

The OISE professor and Canada research chair in education and technology is deeply embroiled in work at UTS, creating a futuristic “smart classroom” and, in discussions starting this week, developing a technology design community to help teachers and students bring a collaborative Web 2.0 flavour to their curricula.

The projects give his grad students thesis work and the high school “heavily, heavily wired,” experimental ways of teaching.

“It doesn’t matter [where the school is located] ... ,” he said. “It’s about knowledge, it’s about technology, it’s about pedagogy, it’s about learning from each other.”
 

interchange42

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Good to hear that Don Schmitt is involved with whatever comes next - it helps spur imaginings of what kind of a situation UTS might find itself in as part of a larger redevelopment somewhere, but one does get nostalgic and a bit anxious for your alma mater when you hear that big changes are afoot.

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67Cup

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U of T: UTS Redevelopment (371 Bloor St W)

Has anybody seen any stories or rumours about what is going in across the street on the south side of Bloor? That's the site of the University of Toronto Schools/College od Education building from about 1910. The board of UTS has been told it needs to find other accommodation. The question of fit with the neighborhood partl depends on what is going in there.
 

Tulse

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I'm not sure if anything new is to be built at the UTS site -- UofT may just want the extra space of the current buildings.
 

Tulse

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Thanks for the info, AoD and greenleaf. That planning document is particularly illuminating -- it looks like an 18 storey building is eventually contemplated for the western end of the site, which I suppose gives some context to the issue of the thread's project height.
 

interchange42

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…and three years later, there's an agreement in place.

The school has just issued this FAQ List to students, their families, and alumni, and it will be of interest to most UT readers as well:

UTS Building FAQs

1. Why is UTS renovating?
As part of our renewed Affiliation Agreement with the University of Toronto, UTS is required to renovate and build a new auditorium and gymnasium, and new classroom spaces.

2. What part of the current building will UTS occupy after construction?
UTS will be consolidated in the east end of the current building rather than using space throughout the building as is currently the case.

3. How much space do we currently occupy? How much will we occupy post-construction?
Currently, UTS occupies about 90,000 sq. ft. Through a combination of new and renovated space, we will have approximately 125,000 sq. ft. following construction.

4. What is being planned for the remainder (west side) of the site?
For many years, U of T has planned to redesign the western section of 371 Bloor Street West, however no specific plans or timelines have yet been developed.

5. What will happen to the original structure?
The facade will be maintained and restored and the rest of the original building east of the centre doors on Bloor Street will be renovated. The original building will not be gutted.

6. Will the lockers and paintings be kept?
Some aspects of the original building will be saved and, where possible, incorporated into the new and renovated building. Some historic assets will be sold as mementos of our past.

7. What are your options for accommodating students and staff (staging) during construction?
At present, we are exploring two main options:
  • Remaining at 371 Bloor Street West, closing off areas affected by construction, and obtaining additional office and classroom space close to the school
  • Finding a school building close to UTS and on a TTC route to move into during some or all of the construction period

8. During construction, will students have access to the resources/facilities of the University, per the Affiliation Agreement?
Yes. During the construction period, our students will have access to university facilities and our various partnerships with the university will continue.

9. Do you have to have all the money raised before construction begins?
UTS will have to raise funds for all of the hard costs of construction and put them into a joint bank account with the University of Toronto before the shovel goes in the ground. This is a requirement of our Affiliation Agreement.

10. What is the anticipated length of construction?
We anticipate that the length of construction will be between 2 ½ and four years. The length depends on many factors including whether or not the project will require more than one phase of construction. Completing the project in one phase will reduce the timeline and the costs.

11. When will construction begin?
UTS must first finalize the design and obtain approvals from both the University and the City of Toronto. The earliest date for the start of construction would be early 2018. We do not anticipate that we would need to move into any new space until the summer of 2018 at the earliest.

12. How do you know there won’t be unexpected structural issues with the building once you start construction that might affect timelines and costs? What is the plan if this is the case?
Structural engineers have inspected the building and have informed us that structural reinforcement is required on some walls – for example, the outside walls facing the parking lot. We are trying to anticipate issues during the design stage.

13. Will there be any hazards for the students inside the building (e.g. asbestos removal, lead, etc.) during or after construction?
Safety is a paramount consideration. We will put in place appropriate hoarding to divide off the construction areas. As in all construction projects, we will operate under strict Health and Safety guidelines and there will be regular inspections.

14. What will be your process for making decisions regarding staging options?
We have organized a Stakeholder Committee consisting of 15 people representing students, staff, parents and alumni. The mandate of the committee is to further develop criteria for decision making and also to continue to explore our options. Our current decision criteria are:
  • Maintaining the UTS student and staff experience
  • Minimizing disruption to students, staff and families
  • As short a construction timeline as possible
  • Sustaining partnerships with the University of Toronto
This committee will report to our Project Steering Committee. Our Project Steering Committee will make a recommendation to our Board of Directors which will then decide on the staging plan.

15. How will you continue to update the UTS community?
We will endeavour to maintain current FAQs on our website and are committed to sending out regular email updates.​
 

interchange42

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And here's the latest:

Building Update

26 July 2017

We are pleased to provide you with a brief update on our progress related to site redevelopment at 371 Bloor Street West. If you have any questions, please contact Murray MacMillan, Executive Assistant to the Principal, at murray.macmillan@utschools.ca or 416.978.2021.

Renewed Building
UTS has been working closely with our University of Toronto partners, the Huron-Sussex Residents Organization, and the City of Toronto to develop a site plan which will be acceptable to all parties. We have submitted a Preliminary Project Review to the City of Toronto for feedback. In partnership with the University, we contracted a study of traffic flow in the neighbourhood to anticipate the impact of the redevelopment of our block on traffic patterns in the vicinity of the school, both today and in the future. We have also conducted other preliminary studies required to commence construction. Once our site plan is approved, we will move to secure a construction contract and—at that point—will be able to communicate the start date for construction.

UTS During Construction
UTS has secured a school site for use during construction. By moving, we are able to reduce the time for construction from over four years to approximately two and a half years. In addition, we can ensure that there are no disruptions or safety risks as a result of the extensive work occurring on the UTS site. We will be leasing a school building from the Toronto Catholic District School Board. The school is located at 30 Humbert Street, close to Ossington Avenue. The site is accessible by public transportation and is only about 15 minutes from UTS by subway and bus.This site will accommodate all UTS students and teaching staff, and has a double gymnasium and a field. We will be conducting necessary renovations to ensure that we can continue to offer our full UTS program at the new site. In order to reduce the stress on students and families, we plan to delay our daily start time to 9:00 a.m. once we relocate.

Capital Campaign
UTS will launch our public fund-raising campaign on 28 September 2017. There will be an event for students on 29 September. We are pleased to report that we have already raised over $38 million in donations and pledges and anticipate the need for an additional $22 million. We will have sufficient funds to commence construction when our site plans are approved.

Impact of a Renewed Building on Bursary and Tuition
UTS will continue to be able to provide bursary support to approximately 20% of our students, an amount equivalent to about $1.3 million annually. Indeed, we have been fortunate to secure new bursary funding from donors in the past few months which will allow UTS to secure and enhance our bursary program. We have been planning for our site redevelopment for many years and do not anticipate significant tuition increases related to the costs of construction.
So, whenever it is that UTS moves for the rebuild, it's the former Senhor Santo Cristo Catholic Elementary School that they'll be moving into on Humbert, just west of Ossington and north of Queen. UTSers gonna be hangin out in Hipsterlandia.

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