TORONTO – A groundbreaking ceremony today marks the launch of a transformative restoration and expansion of University of Toronto Schools (UTS), an affiliate of the University of Toronto on the downtown St. George campus.
The design by Diamond Schmitt Architects restores the heritage central and east wings built for the school by Darling and Pearson Architects in 1910 and 1924. Transformation of these wings includes conversion of the former gym into a Black Box Theatre and the former 25-yard pool into music teaching space.
The school program area is expanded by 40 percent with a new wing that includes a 700-seat auditorium lifted above grade to allow the school library – conceived as a learning crossroads – to overlook the community and neighbourhood park. The cantilevered auditorium creates a covered verandah where children in the park are protected from sun and rain. A new double gym is tucked under the park to conserve site area. Thirdly, a former parking lot will be transformed as a vertical forum and meeting place connecting the UTS community and all learning levels.
“UTS strengthens its historic alliance with the University of Toronto and with this compact plan enables the university to redevelop and expand on this gateway block of the St George campus,”
said Donald Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects.
The renewed school will serve 670 students and represents a best in class environment for secondary school learning.
“UTS has a 108-year-old tradition of educating leaders who make a significant impact at the local, national and global level. Alumni such as our 21st Rhodes Scholar are just one testament to the exceptional value of a UTS education,” says Jim Fleck C.C., Chair of the UTS Board of Directors, Co-Chair of the UTS Building the Future campaign, alumnus (1949). “There is no limit to what our students can achieve in a revitalized building, with state-of-the-art facilities that can help them reach their full potential.”
The project is targeting completion for September 2021.
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca) has offices in Toronto, Vancouver and New York City. The firm’s extensive portfolio includes performing arts centres, post-secondary facilities, and residential, institutional and commercial buildings. Current projects include the interim home of the Senate of Canada in Ottawa, Robarts Common at the University of Toronto and Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts & Sciences in Texas.