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UWindsor President Alan Wildeman accepts the Heritage Award from Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens during the Celebrating 2017 Mayor's Award on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.UWindsor President Alan Wildeman accepts the Heritage Award from Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens during the Celebrating 2017 Mayor's Award on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.

Mayor toasts UWindsor for preserving city's history

The University of Windsor was honoured by the Mayor of Windsor this week for its work in preserving historic buildings in the city’s downtown core.

President Alan Wildeman accepted the Celebrating 2017 Mayor’s Award Tuesday in honour of the city’s 125th anniversary.

"It was very nice to have the University of Windsor be recognized by the city for the efforts to preserve and reimagine historic locations," Dr. Wildeman said.

"I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to create these exciting new spaces for our students, faculty, staff and community."

In 2011, the University of Windsor announced it would expand its campus into the downtown core by moving into two historic buildings.

The first move was to bring the School of Social Work and Centre for Executive and Professional Education downtown to the former Windsor Star building on Pitt and Ferry streets.

The Beaux-Art- style building, constructed in 1927 and located at 167 Ferry St., is found in the City of Windsor’s original downtown district.

The next big move came from the School for Creative Arts as it moved downtown to the Major FA Tilston Armoury and site of the former Tunnel Bar-B-Q.

The original Armouries was built in 1902 and designed by David Ewart of the Department of Public Works. Ewart also designed the main tower of Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings.

Towering over downtown Windsor, the two-storey brick structure was built in the Richardson Romanesque style with a dominant octagonal turret.

“The University is a great leader in taking bold steps to preserve culture and respect our city’s past,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said at the ceremony, before presenting the Heritage Award to Wildeman.

“By repurposing these buildings rather than tearing them down and building something new, Windsor is able to preserve significant parts of our history and heritage, while still advancing and moving forward.”

Beginning in January, about 500 students, faculty and staff will move into the Armouries and newly constructed Freedom Way building. The new building on the Tunnel Bar-B-Q site will boast film production studios, editing suites, a sonic art studio and making studio for sculpture, metal and woodworking. The Armouries will house 12 practice rooms for musicians, a performance and practice hall, a library, classrooms, offices, a keyboard and computer lab, photography and painting studios.

“Future generations of students and citizens will look back on this time and remember the decisions made that protected historic buildings and contributed to the beauty and development of our downtown core,” Dilkens said.