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Current Status

November 4, 2008

The opening ceremonies on October 16 celebrated the new building and the gift by Ira Gluskin and Maxine Granovsky-Gluskin in honour of Ira's father Max. An enthusiastic crowd applauded the gift and enjoyed tours of the building. The appearance and design of the building, the light, the use of natural wood, the shaping of the spaces received very favourable comment. We became more eager to move in.

The offices on the second and third floors of the new addition (west and north wings) and the second and third floors of Victorian house are virtually complete. The remainder of the project is nearly complete except that the basement and first floor of the South House and North House requiring some additional work as do the stairwells. The remaining cedar panelling for the ceiling in the common room and corridor of the north addition is being installed the first week of November. The heating system is operating and should be balanced and adjusted in a week.

The exterior work is also virtually complete except for some painting, a few finishing touches and the landscaping.

The building should be ready for final furniture delivery by the end of November.

We will move back in the middle of December. The exact date will be set after exploring the final exam schedule and other factors in order to minimise disruptions to faculty, staff and students.

September 16, 2008

The offices on the second and third floors of the new addition (west and north wings) and the second and third floors of Victorian house are nearing completion with electrical outlets, lights and ceiling tiles largely installed. The first floor of the Victorian house is progressing rapidly with wallboarding nearly completed. The Corten steel façade is being installed in the courtyard and the glass is nearly complete on the link and the St. George face of the addition.

While much remains to be done the contractor expects the building to be ready for furniture delivery on September 23 and for us to move in on October 3. We are now planning for that move.

August 1, 2008

While not much has changed on the outside in the last few months the contractor has been working hard inside. The greatest progress has been achieved in the second and third floors of the new addition (west and north wings) the second and third floors of North House, and the first and second floor of South House. In these areas, the wall board is up and joints taped, sometimes two coats of paint on the walls, carpet is laid and protected by paper, the fan coil (heating/cooling) unit is ready to be installed. They are starting to install the lights and to drop the ceiling tiles into place. The outlets and switches must be installed and everything finally painted. In some areas there is additional plumbing or air duct work to be done in the ceiling area before it can be closed in.

At the other extreme, the washrooms are only roughed-in with no wallboard and in a few cases no floors. The North House basement is completely unfinished with exposed masonry walls and ceiling joists and all pipes and ducts exposed. The first floor of North House still has broken plaster on the walls, the ceilings are open and much wall repair and wood and plaster restoration remains to be done.

On the exterior the contractor is now installing the brackets that will support the Corten steel façade on the southwest stairwell and courtyard; that steel should go up in August. The frames for the glass on the link and the St. George face of the addition are being installed and we should have glass in those areas during August. There are still some external areas to be finished at the junction between the North House and the new addition.

For an interesting set of aerial photographs of the construction from the beginning to the present, click here

April, 2008

Framing is virtually complete for the entire building and all window frames have been installed except for the St. George facade of the new addition which will remain open for a while to facilitate delivery of materials to the building. Much of the window glass has been installed, so the building is now effectively enclosed. The roof has been completed over a large portion of the new addition and during April the slate roof on the Victorian house will be replaced with a faux slate similar to that on the Graduate School building at 65 St. George St. The brick is being laid on the west wall along the laneway during April. During May the bricklayers will move to the north wall, along the fraternity property. The plumbing, electrical and heating/air conditioning work has proceeded well in the old buildings and in the new addition and is nearly complete except for installation of the boiler and the chiller. We are waiting for the transformer to be installed by Toronto Hydro to provide full power to the building. Drywall work in the old buildings has progressed well and drywall installation will begin soon in the basement of the new addition. Substantial completion of the work is now estimated for the beginning of August for some parts of the building and late August for the remainder. We will order the furniture in May so that it is ready for delivery when the building is completed.

January, 2008

Framing of the structure has been completed along the laneway and much of the electrical and ventilation ductwork has been installed in that part of the building. Window frames and first floor window glass are installed along the laneway. Framing of the north addition has been slowed by a shortage of carpenters but the third floor is now proceeding well. The masonry enclosure for the south-west stairwell is completed and the masons have moved to the main stairwell and elevator shaft in the north addition. Renovation in the old buildings has proceeded smoothly with new windows now installed in the North House and brickwork under way on the north-east corner of South House. The schedule now calls for us to be able to install furniture in July, with move-in scheduled for August, 2008.

September, 2007

Construction has proceeded well during the summer although a strike delayed important concrete work by a couple of weeks. By Labour Day, the concrete foundations and basement walls for the new addition were nearly complete. Framing of the first and second floors has been completed along the laneway and the framing is now moving eastward on the first floor. Ductwork for the heating and cooling system is being installed where framing is complete. Workers are beginning to install structural steel for the link between the 1889 Crowther House and the 1961 addition. We have finally secured agreement on an underground chamber for electrical cables that will connect the buildings to the power supply on St. George St. so digging to the south of the 1961 addition for those cables should begin shortly. If all goes well the building should be closed in at the end of November, with exterior cladding installed at year's end. Substantial completion is estimated for late May, 2008.

May, 2007

Steelcase Construction began work on March 26, 2007. Excavation of the basement and shoring of the excavation was followed by pouring concrete foundations and then the concrete basement walls. We expect that the exterior basement walls for the west addition along the laneway will be completed by the end of May. Work will then proceed on the basement of the northern new addition. Renovation of the existing buildings will begin in May and proceed in parallel with the new construction. Completion of the entire project is now scheduled for May, 2008.

January, 2007

The design drawings were completed in November, 2006 and the firm of Steelcase Construction was chosen to undertake the construction and renovation. Selective demolition will be completed in early February and construction should begin shortly thereafter. Some offices in South House should be ready for occupancy in December, 2007 and the project should be fully completed in March, 2008.

June, 2006

The functional design for the overall project has been completed and we are working on detail design of the building. The large conference room and the graduate seminar room will be on the first floor of the extension along the bp nichol Lane, close to the undergraduate common room. The small conference room will be on the second floor of the new addition in the front, looking out onto St. George Street. The faculty/staff lounge will be on the third floor directly above the small conference room. The exterior of the addition will be mainly brick on the north and west facades, while the face to the courtyard will be a brown steel.

March, 2006

Detailed design work for Phase I was virtually complete in mid-January, 2006 and we were within a couple of weeks of going to tender for construction when the commitment was made for the gift that will enable us to complete the entire project. The detailed design work for Phase II is now underway and should be completed in the summer. We will then tender the construction work for the entire project, with an expected completion date about eighteen months later.

In the meantime, the Department has settled into the 4th and 5th floors of Sidney Smith and we are adapting well to our temporary home. Colleagues enjoy the shorter walk to classes and access to the Second Cup in the lobby of Sidney Smith and interaction with colleagues in Political Science and other departments is easier. On the other hand we are farther from colleagues in the Institute for Policy Analysis, the Centre for Industrial Relations and the Rotman Faculty of Management.

Completion of the graduate student space in the basement has taken longer than we hoped, but we now have 25 fully functional PhD carrels with internet access, along with 8 computers in a computer lab. A lounge is attached and new furniture throughout makes this space much more cheerful than was the PhD space at 150 St. George.