Announcement Follows Eight-Month Construction Delay
Construction of the new Jackman Law Building has officially been delayed until February of 2016, according to the most recent Capital Report from the University of Toronto’s Governing Council. Completion of the project will be “delayed by a minimum of 6 months due to withheld approval of the tree removal permit by the local Councillor,” according to the report.
The permits for the new building complex were approved at a Toronto City Council meeting on February 19, 2014. Construction was originally set to begin in June of 2013.
“We did have a delay around getting a city permit issued but the expectation is still to open in the 2015-2016 academic year,” said Scott Mabury, Vice President, University Operations.
“That is still our plan. The Business Board capital projects update does reflect the delay and while it mentions a 6 months delay, which would put us at February of 2016, it does not reflect the active discussions our project management team is having with the contractor to make up lost time.”
In an Orientation Week speech to the class of 2016, Dean Mayo Moran had indicated that the building would be open for the start of the 2015-2016 academic year.
According to the City of Toronto’s building permit status registry, many of the approvals were only sought in the late fall of 2013 and then rejected in the early winter of 2013.
“The effect of this delay on the budget is under review,” according to the Capital Report. The building is largely funded by private donations, some university-wide funds, and building grants. It is currently estimated to cost $54 million, at about $258.04 per square foot.On February 20, 2014, Moran told Ultra Vires that the building was still on budget.
On March 19, 2014, Moran stated, “For sure it will affect the budget to some degree because we have to rent space for a longer period of time.” Moran expects the law school will remain at Victoria College if necessary. The extra cost will have to be made up either through the law school budget, cutting costs to the building, or additional fundraising, Moran added.
Moran says she expects the class of 2016 will get to see the new building for part of their third year. According to the most recent estimate, the building should be completed by midway through the Winter 2016 semester. By then Moran will have left the Faculty of Law for her new position at Trinity College. She says that she would leave it up to the students to decide if they want to move in to the new facility mid-term.
As for whether the timeline is realistic, the University Division of Planning, Design, and Construction has stated that the estimate is only a minimum. Neither Moran nor Mabury would give an estimate of the likely completion date.