University of Toronto breaks ground for new Varsity Centre

Preparation for construction of the new Varsity Centre for Physical Activity and Health at the University of Toronto will begin with a groundbreaking on Friday, November 25 at 12:30 pm at Varsity Arena, located at 275 Bloor Street West.

The first phase of the Varsity Centre, due for completion in September 2006, will see the construction of a 5,000-seat grandstand, state-of-the-art artificial surface playing field, an eight-lane track, change rooms, lighting and an electronic scoreboard. Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. with Ellerbe Becket have prepared a master plan of the former Varsity Stadium site; proposed subsequent phases include an air-supported bubble over the playing field for winter months, a four-storey building with teaching and training facilities and significant renovations to Varsity Arena. The complete project is expected to cost in the range of $56 million with the university contributing the first $16.3 million. The remainder will come from a capital fund raising campaign.

At the groundbreaking, Professor Bruce Kidd, dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Health, will welcome Tony Ianno, minister of state (families and caregivers), U of T president David Naylor, Rose Patten, chair of Governing Council, and other distinguished guests.