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UTS gets the slow boot

June 13th, 2011 · No Comments

 

By Síle Cleary

UTS, pictured here with students gathered outside for a Jane’s Walk in 2010, will be searching for a new home. Beth Macdonell/Gleaner News

The University of Toronto School (UTS, 371 Bloor St. W.) board is eager to enter into discussions with their academic partner, the University of Toronto, in order to clarify the terms of the school’s relocation plan.

Last month the UTS board was formally notified by U of T that their $48 million refurbishment proposal for their Bloor Street premises had been rejected and that they must relocate by 2021.

“Our current position is that we plan on entering into discussions with U of T on the terms of the relocation plan. We need a clear agreement before anything is finalized,” said David Rounthwaite, chair of UTS building committee.

Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) reiterated the call for discussions to take place between the two academic institutions. “At the moment we need the UTS and U of T to get together and explore the options,” he said.

“UTS students and family members are a valuable part of the community and I’ll move heaven and earth to keep the school as close as possible to its current location.”

UTS has been a part of the community since 1910, and was established as
a kind of laboratory for U of T’s faculty of education and a testing ground for student teachers.

According to Rounthwaite, the current building on Bloor is structurally sound but has electrical and plumbing issues.

The UTS redevelopment proposal plans to maintain the heritage façade of the building while making significant improvements to the interior, such as the building of new athletic facilities—including two fully-equipped gyms, a 25-metre swimming pool, new heating, air conditioning, and other infrastructure improvements.

After reviewing the UTS proposal, the university informed the school that they would require the entire UTS property to meet their own future academic space needs.

U of T communications officer Laurie Stephens said that the university didn’t want to encumber itself, as they have significant space issues on the St. George’s campus.

“The UTS site on the St. George campus is a valuable site for U of T and we felt that we needed that site for academic purposes,” she said.

While UTS is disappointed that they cannot remain in their current residence, they are confident that they will find a suitable location within the time frame. “I’m positive that we can relocate just as successfully as other institutes have done in the past. Of course, we will lose the connection with the building, but UTS is a living organism,” said Rounthwaite.

The University has said it will assist UTS in the site search process and help with the acquisition, including providing financial and other support.

“We have indicated to UTS that they have ten years to find a new location with the possibility of an extension after the ten years, if required,” said Stephens.

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