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NEWS (Nov. 2017): Building a legacy

November 24th, 2017 · No Comments

UTS launches fundraising campaign

By Geremy Bordonaro

The University of Toronto Schools (UTS) has launched Building the Future, a $60-million fundraising campaign aimed at restoring its current building and developing a new building that will include a performance centre.

Upgrading the facilities is part of the terms of its agreement with the University of Toronto (U of T).

“In December of 2015 we finalized our affiliation agreement with the university. Part of that agreement called on the school to rebuild the site,” said Rosemary Evans, the school’s principal. “In order to stay here, and to continue as a school affiliated with U of T, we have to rebuild.”

More than half of the funds have already been raised from a private alumni fundraiser.

“The students stay connected, even after leaving the school. Many see attending the school as something that truly transformed their lives,” Evans said. “As a result, they stay connected to one another and the school. They feel a sense of wanting to give back and they don’t want to see the school disappear.”

UTS — located at the foot of Madison Avenue on Bloor Street — has seen a long list of well-known names come through its doors including current mayor John Tory, who has publicly supported the school and its campaign.

The U of T, which has a loose affiliation with the school, has an oversight role in the planning process.

“Our role is really in working with them to ensure that their project aligns with broader university planning and the campus master planning,” said Scott Mabury, U of T’s vice president of university operations.

Mabury stressed that although UTS is a separate entity, the school needs to fill its land obligations.

“We spent a number of years discussing how to redo an affiliation agreement with the school. We signed the new agreement based on the very long and valued relationship we had,” he said. “That affiliation imagined a capital build that sat on U of T land, that would be a U of T building.”

The relationship between the school and university dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century.

“As an affiliated entity that is long-standing, lots of friends of UTS are friends of U of T. Oftentimes alumni of UTS are alumni of U of T,” Mabury said. “There is lots of goodwill back and forth across that relationship.”

Both the university and UTS have reached out to the community to keep them involved in the planning process.

“UTS’ plans are excellent as far as Harbord Village is concerned. We haven’t had a problem with UTS at all,” said Sue Dexter, U of T liaison for the Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA). “But we have a problem with the way that the university wants the school to meld in with [its] plans.”

The concerns are mostly about how the school will treat the community, particularly with respect to getting rid of green space.

“We just have concerns about green space, always. And the encroachment on the park isn’t necessary,” Dexter said. “The minute you build into a park, some existing trees would have to go and we just don’t want to do that.”

“We value our community partnerships. That’s really important to us,” said Evans. “So we’ve tried to make that a driving force in our plan.”

The school hopes to break ground in late summer or early fall, if the fundraising goes as planned. Construction is expected to take around two and a half years.



NEWS Tentative deal for UTS (December 2015)

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