Faculty members get inside look at Windsor Star building plans

Faculty members who could one day be working downtown are getting the chance to help shape their new digs long before the heavy equipment moves in.

“The architects are hearing what’s important to us and incorporating it into their plans, and that really builds excitement,” said social work professor Jill Grant, one of about 20 faculty members who met Friday with CS&P Architects. The Toronto firm has been tasked with estimating the costs of retrofitting the Windsor Star building to become the new home for the School of Social Work and the Centre for Executive and Professional Education.

The meeting was the latest in a series of exchanges designed for faculty to talk about what they’d like to see in their new home and for the architects to discuss how they can amalgamate those desires into their plans.

“They really hear what we say, and then they go away and come back with our ideas and concerns incorporated into their plans,” said Dr. Grant. “It’s really exciting.”

On Friday, the firm unveiled options for the building, some of which include an “adaptive re-use” of the building or a more “active reconstruction” of it, according to Craig Goodman, one of the principal architects with CS&P. Both of those options include maintaining the heritage façade of the building, originally constructed in 1918, as well as interconnected interior spaces, maximizing daylight, increased accessibility and green space on the roof.

Goodman said by late October, they hope to have final cost estimates submitted to the downtown executive building committee, which is chaired by visual arts professor Veronika Mogyorody and is overseeing the project. Those plans will eventually go before the university’s board of governors for final approval.

“Our design goal is to have a building that performs efficiently and still accommodates all of the space requirements,” he said.