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Construction kicks off at Centennial College campus

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by PATRICIA WILLIAMS

Toronto’s Centennial College has broken ground at its Progress Ave. campus on an $85 million student residence and culinary arts centre, an innovative project that combines living and learning environments.
Construction kicks off at Centennial College campus
Photo: DIAMOND SCHMITT ARCHITECTS

Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the eight-storey building will accommodate 740 students in two and four-bed suites. A bathroom and kitchen will be provided in every suite.

All residents will have a private bedroom. Corner lounges on each floor are complemented with additional amenity space including a yoga studio.

Accommodation is configured around a courtyard garden, allowing natural light to reach all of the residence rooms.

The ground floor is dedicated to Centennial's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, complete with seven kitchen labs, eight additional classrooms and a teaching restaurant. The conference and events centre located on the top floor will accommodate up to 425 guests.

Construction will get under way this fall, with occupancy scheduled for the fall of 2016. The project is being undertaken by the college in partnership with Knightstone Capital Management, which is financing and managing the project. Other key partners, in addition to Diamond Schmitt, are Canadian Campus Communities and FRAM Building Group.

Speaking at the groundbreaking, Craig Stephenson, the college's vice-president, student and community engagement, said the event represents the launch "of yet another landmark Centennial project, not only in terms of bricks and mortar but in terms of how this project has come about and what it means for our students.

"This build has come about because of a highly creative partnership with Knightstone Capital Management. It has brought colleagues to the table who have absorbed themselves in understanding not only our world, but the whole world of student life and student residences."

The "student-focused" facility will provide a total of 353,500 square feet of space. Construction of the building is considered another milestone in the college's quest to revitalize its Progress campus.

Currently, students are accommodated in an aging 340-bed facility, a former hotel on Progress Ave. that was renovated to become the college's first residence in 2001.

Donald Schmitt, co-founder and principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, said the "unusual amalgam" of living and learning spaces in the new building will create a lively crossroads, both as a campus entry point as well as a hub for the campus to engage students and the community.

"Everything about the project is designed to capture 21st century learning opportunities," said Schmitt, whose firm previously designed Centennial's award-winning library and academic facility.

Registered to obtain LEED Silver certification, the building boasts a green roof and water-saving features. High-efficiency glazing and highly insulated walls and roofs will improve energy performance.

The project team includes mechanical-electrical consultants Able Engineering Inc. and structural engineering consultants Read Jones Christoffersen. Landscape architects are Baker Turner Inc.

"This new building promises to be a wonderful addition to our flagship campus," said Ann Buller, Centennial's president and CEO. "This is a significant day in the history of our college."

Established in 1966, Centennial College primarily serves the eastern portion of the Greater Toronto Area through four campuses and seven satellite locations.

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