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Overview of the Economics Building Project

WHY?

The building project was initiated and advanced by Michael Berkowitz during his two years as Department Chair. It was developed in response to inadequate space for both graduate students and faculty, stressed by external reviewers over the years as a barrier to the Department's achieving its academic goals. In recent years, our space needs have been further increased by instructors for our growing undergraduate enrolment, the initiation of the Master of Financial Economics program, and program enhancements for Commerce students. In 2001, a Project Planning Report recommended improving and expanding the space available to the Department by renovation and construction on our site at 150 St. George St. The Report can be found from http://www.utoronto.ca/govcncl/bac, then follow the links to Planning and Budget committee 2002-2003 Agenda, March 26, 2003, and finally item #6 full report.

WHAT?

The project will provide new faculty offices, more offices for PhD students, study and work space for MFE students, rooms for TA's to meet with students, research space for faculty and graduate students, space for visiting professors and additional support staff, and expanded computer facilities. It will increase the useful floor space and the number of offices by over 50%. A central feature of the project will be a large undergraduate common room for study and relaxing. The common room will have large windows looking into a courtyard to the south. This will be a comfortable space for students to spend time between classes or while waiting to meet with faculty or Teaching Assistants. The increase in office space and the modernization of existing space will greatly enhance the experience of our students and improve the working conditions for many faculty.

The project will include a new 3-story addition attached to the north side and rear of the old Victorian north building and extending to the rear of the property and then south along the bp nichol lane. The connection between north and south Houses will be replaced with a glass enclosed hallway on the first and second floors. The project will preserve and restore the beauty of the formal portions of the Victorian house, built in 1889 for William Crowther, and major portions of the Georgian building, completed in 1961. Offices in Victorian House will be renovated with central air conditioning replacing the window units. Follow this link for a rendering of the completed project as seen from St. George Street and from Innis College to the south.

Navigate through the "Building Plans" menu option, for the current floor plans.

WHO?

The architectural firm of Hariri Pontrini, which includes some of the architects who undertook the Woodsworth renovation, was chosen for the project in the Spring of 2003. Since that time, a committee consisting of representatives of the architect, the University planning office, the University Capital Projects office, and the Chair of the Economics Renovation Committee has been working on the project. The Departmental Renovation Committee meets from time to time to consider issues raised by the design committee.

WHEN?

We moved out of 150 St. George St. in September, 2005 and into offices on the 4th and 5th floors of Sidney Smith Hall. Building cleanup at 150 St. George began in the fall of 2005, followed by selective demolition as required by the plans and site preparation. Design drawings for the entire project were completed in November, 2006 and the construction contract was awarded in January, 2007. Construction began on March 26, 2007. The schedule calls for the project to be completed by November, 2008.

HOW?

THE GIFT: The overall cost of the project is estimated at $15 million. Planning for the first phase was under way when Toronto investment manager Ira Gluskin and his wife, Maxine Granovsky-Gluskin, honoured Ira's father, Max, with a $3.5-million gift to the University of Toronto which has enabled the entire project to go forward. The facility will be named Max Gluskin House. Max, 92, graduated from U of T's commerce and finance program in 1936 and became a chartered accountant. Ira, who finished the same program in 1964, is one of Canada's leading investment managers. We are deeply grateful to Ira Gluskin for his generosity and dedication to the University and to the Economics Department. Professor Pekka Sinervo, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, has declared: "Max Gluskin House will allow the Department of Economics to build on its international reputation for excellence in educating future business, financial and policy leaders and in producing influential research. In doing so, the new home will enhance the departments ability to compete effectively for top students and faculty."

OPPORTUNITIES: There are still opportunities for additional donors to make a real difference in this project and to be remembered with the naming of a room or an element of the building. Friends of the Department who are interested in supporting this transformative project should contact our Chairman, Arthur Hosios or Monica Lin, Development Officer, Arts and Science.