The Importance of Place at Trinity College
Help Us Envision Our Future Campus
January 10, 2018
Dear Members of the Trinity Community:
As you may know, we have been consulting with members of the Trinity community on our learning, community and living spaces. Thank you to the 600 students, faculty, alumni and staff who completed our online survey last fall. Through these responses, along with other consultations, you have identified priorities and values for both new and existing spaces that support Trinity’s collegiate way of life. These include focusing on the importance of health and well-being, modernization and sustainability. You also told us that students need more spaces for social and group work and faculty-student interaction. You told us we need more teaching and learning space, and of course, more spaces for living on campus. You also want us to protect, preserve and highlight Trinity’s beautiful historic buildings. You have made it clear that Trinity’s needs and aspirations require considerably more space than we currently have.
Our work with a master planner indicates that the current parking lot immediately north of the Gerald Larkin Building is the site with the greatest potential for a new building. The preliminary thinking is that the new building would be integrated with a renovated first floor of the Gerald Larkin Building, creating a larger, revitalized communal space. It would also encompass two or three floors of teaching and learning space, which are necessary for our academic programs to continue to flourish. Above this base and set back from the streetscape would be a mid-rise housing section, providing desperately needed residential space for our students (about 250 new residence beds).
We have also consulted with the U of T Community Liaison Committee (which includes University staff and student representatives, city counsellor and local residents’ associations) and met with our local city counsellor and staff. In anticipation of the various planning processes, we will be submitting an application for rezoning with the City of Toronto next month.
While we look to the future, we will continue to focus on supporting the whole student, transforming the student experience at Trinity:
- Our new Centre for Student Services will bring together the offices of the Registrar and the Dean of Students into one space.
- We continue to renovate our current spaces to address some of our most urgent space needs, including investing in our current residences through upgrades in furnishings and finishes.
And as we continue to explore options, we will also be working to develop our fundraising capacity to help support any new construction and consulting further with members of our community to refine our plans. This is an exciting time for the College as we imagine the evolution of our glorious historic campus. I hope that you will be part of the conversation and look forward to your thoughts.
Provost and Vice-Chancellor
August 2, 2017
Dear Members of the Trinity Community:
A sense of place is so vital – at best it elevates us and connects us in a meaningful way to the world around us. At Trinity College our sense of place is especially profound and that is precisely why “place” is among the three pillars of our Strategic Plan: People, Program and Place.
We treasure the glorious Trinity buildings we have the privilege to steward, striving to ensure that they are cared for and that they improve the lives of those who learn, work and live here. Sometimes this means reclaiming space, as with the beautiful new Archives, which was once an ignored basement. Sometimes it means refashioning spaces so that they work for the Trinity of today, which strives to be an inclusive, welcoming environment.
While we are working hard to refurbish our historic buildings, it is also becoming clear that we simply do not have enough space for all of our people and activities, no matter how well we use what we have. Perhaps this is not surprising – it has been some time since we added significant learning space and today we struggle to find room for classes, programming and professors. In fact, aside from our beautiful John W. Graham Library (opened in 2000), it has been more than 55 years since we added new teaching and learning space (the Gerald Larkin Building was completed in 1961). And while we resolutely remain the smallest college at the University of Toronto, our student body has grown since our early days. Our residence space has increased only marginally (50 beds in St. Hilda’s College in the early 1980s), so too many of our students must live at a great distance, which means they cannot experience college life to the fullest. They tell us that they want to spend more time here – studying, interacting socially, being immersed in collegial life, and indeed living in residence. Unfortunately, we cannot meet their needs. I believe that we can do better for our outstanding students.
Renewing the Trinity Campus
This is why renewal of our campus is of such vital importance. Over the past year, our initial conversations with students, faculty, staff and the larger Trinity community have made it clear that our aspirations cannot be achieved unless we add more space. We have listened and engaged a master planner to help us consider our options. We have also conducted a comprehensive needs assessment, reviewed the state of our facilities and campus footprint, and analyzed current and forecasted needs.
This groundwork has made it evident that a new building will most likely be required to respond to the significant unmet need for study and social space for students, for teaching and learning space for the College’s academic programs, and for residential space for Trinity students. We are early in the process of examining the potential of the Trinity campus as it relates to municipal bylaws and are working with the ongoing University of Toronto St. George Campus Secondary planning process and with relevant leaders at the College, U of T and the City of Toronto. We will also be assessing our fundraising capacity to help support any new construction and refurbishment of existing spaces on campus.
However important need is, Trinity’s physical space has never just been about need – it has also been about our values and our aspirations. So too is it today: only by creating inspiring learning, living and social spaces can we honour our traditions and complement our beautiful historic campus. Trinity has always aspired to be part of creating a better world – our space must also strive to reflect our core values of excellence, inclusion and sustainability. Above all else, Trinity is about community and that is why we want to hear your views.
Join the Conversation
In the months ahead, we will be continuing to have many place-oriented conversations on campus. We want to know what is important to you. I encourage you to share your thoughts about the kinds of spaces that are essential to fostering the engaged college community that is at the heart of Trinity College. You can complete the short survey here (survey is now closed - send your comments and feedback to email@example.com).
Over the coming months, we will be holding a series of consultations with members of our community as we consider our options and develop a plan for our future campus. We will also be working closely with our partners at the University and the City throughout the process. Updates and announcements will be posted on this webpage, so please do return here often. You can also get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trinity College has always been about how our shared values, expressed in architecture new and old, can foster the flourishing of every member of this very special collegiate community. This is an incredibly exciting time as we imagine the evolution of our glorious historic campus. I hope that you will be part of the conversation and look forward to your thoughts.
Provost and Vice-Chancellor