By Linda White
Special to The Toronto Sun
Construction of the country's newest university is making the grade in Durham Region, as the institution prepares to welcome its first class of students less than a year after excavation of the site began.
"To build this in 10 months is a little short of a miracle," says Russell Price, project manager with EllisDon Corporation.
The $33-million University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Durham Region is set to open this September, and will accommodate 1,000 students.
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) was announced in the provincial government's budget speech in May, 2001. Located on the same campus as Durham College in Oshawa, it is the first new university to be constructed in Ontario in 40 years.
The $33-million university will consist of seven buildings, with the last phase of construction to be completed in 2006. UOIT will create 1,000 new student spaces when the first phase opens in September, and will accommodate 2,870 students by 2005 and 6,000 students by 2010.
Construction of the first building began in October and will be completed by August. About 85 tradespeople from Durham and across the Greater Toronto Area are currently on site, Price reports. Work has focused primarily on excavation, masonry, mechanics, concrete forming, waterproofing and installation of reinforcing bars.
The 114,000-sq.-ft., five-storey building features a complete basement, with underground tunnels that link the university and college. The site will also include a central plant for new and existing buildings.
"It will feature a ground source water system that utilizes energy within the ground to assist in the transfer of heat," Price says. "It's a system that's been popular in the United States and Europe, but hasn't been so well used in Canada."
As Ontario's first "laptop university," the campus and residence infrastructure features a comprehensive data network. "That has meant more data cabling and more audio/visual features," Price says.
"We're also doing a lot of site work," he says. "We're rebuilding roads and parking lots and creating new road access points."
The number of tradespeople is expected to increase to 200 this summer and will reach 300 in September, when construction on other buildings will be well underway, Price reports.
Construction of a new library that will be shared by university and college students gets underway this spring.
It's scheduled to open in September, 2004.
Construction of an additional two buildings will also get underway this spring and are slated to open for students in fall 2004.
Construction also continues on the first phase of a new residence. The five-storey building will house 350 students and will include a cafeteria when it opens this fall.
About 50 tradespeople are currently involved in its construction, reports Rod Stokes, v.-p. of project development with Dacon Construction Limited.
Work has focused on excavation, concrete forming, mechanics, electrical and drywall.
When interior work begins in June, painters and floor coverers will be among the trades on site.
The second phase of the $45-million residence is scheduled to open in the spring of 2004.
The 260,000-sq.-ft. building will house more than 650 students when complete.
Construction is also underway on a year-round tennis centre, located immediately north of the campus.
(Linda White (email@example.com)
is a freelance writer based in Brooklin, Ont.)
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