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New patio by Athletics Centre provides welcoming doorway to campus

DOORWAY TO CAMPUS: Renovations outside of the Athletics & Recreation Centre will mean a new patio and redesigned outdoor space that will enhance that area of UTSC. (Image by Tracy Gould, Design & Construction Management.)

by Rob Wulkan

It may not look like much right now, but behind the fences that obstruct the front entrance to the Athletics & Recreation Centre, a project is under way that will serve as a social hub and multi-purpose outdoor event space at U of T Scarborough.

The redesign of the area will serve as a way to beautify the front entrance to the campus and provide a facelift to the image that the campus presents to the outside community, according to Heidi Calder, co-director of athletics & recreation. The estimated completion date for the new patio is mid-August 2009, she said.

The patio will feature an aesthetically-pleasing grid pattern rather than the standard concrete seen in many locations on campus. Using an existing majestic maple tree as the centrepiece for the new design, the area will feature benches for seating and relaxation. Improved lighting is also a key priority, she said. This will enhance the safety and usability of both the patio and the transit stops, for which there are also upgrades.

Given the commuter nature of the campus, a new GO bus shelter will be added on the southeast side of the patio, giving travellers some protection from the wind and rain. To accommodate cyclists, a total of 21 new bike racks will be installed on campus.

“We’re all very excited about the patio renovations,” said Calder. “It’s going to be a fabulous outdoor hub where people from the campus community can gather for all different types of events.”

More than just a lounge and a waiting area, though, this patio will be equipped to serve as a staging ground for outdoor events during warm weather months. “It will be great,” said Calder. “We could set up a yoga class out there, or the cheerleaders could have a pep rally,” she commented. Given the inclusion of power outlets, the patio may be able to host everything from an outdoor fitness class to a barbecue bash, she said.

The patio project was born from the ashes of another undertaking that required the area to be dug up. The digging was needed in order for the facilities department to deal with the upgrading of some underground transformers, she said. The resulting hole in the ground provided the perfect opportunity to upgrade the “doorway” to the campus.

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