Updated September 2012
Welcome to the Faculty of Law’s web page dedicated to informing current and future law students about our exciting plans to build a new state-of-the-art law school building.
This page will be updated as the building project progresses; please stay informed by visiting often.
See also the New Building Construction page for the latest news about the construction process and plans.
Key dates at a glance
- Summer 2013: Transition to temporary law school space; building commences
- 2013-2015: Building phase
- Summer 2015: Transition from temporary law school space to new building
See also the Construction Timeline page for details about the timing of the construction process.
The consultation process
Throughout 2006 and 2007 the Faculty of Law engaged in numerous consultations with all of its key stakeholders, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, the broader university community, the local community, the legal profession, and other key partners to clearly identify the need for the new building and determine the scope of the program to be delivered by the selected architects. After an international design competition, the design from the firm of Hariri Pontarini was selected in 2007.
A Design to “Make the Spirit Soar”
Toronto firm Hariri Pontarini’s design for the Faculty of Law’s new home envisions a site with three distinct elements: a new multi-storey wing on Queen's Park Crescent; an extensive interior renovation to the Bora Laskin Law Library; and a light renovation to historic Flavelle House.
The new building will increase our space by 50%, adding 66,000 square feet to our campus. The building is designed to accommodate our existing program, with some room for future growth; it does not contemplate an increase in student enrolment.
The design features new classroom, office and student service areas (bringing together Admission and Financial Aid, Records, and Career Services). The Laskin Library, upgraded with current technology and research tools, includes an information commons, quiet areas for reading and research and group study rooms. A new Student Commons area will provide space for student government, clubs, journals and informal gatherings. The renovated space in Flavelle will feature a conference centre balancing the historic heritage of the law school’s buildings with new technology and furnishings.
Over the last ten years, three separate external reviews - in 2001, 2006 and 2010 - have identified the physical facilities as the only major threat to the Faculty of Law's success and reputation, both nationally and internationally.
These concerns are echoed by students, who have identified the current law school buildings as the #1 cause of student dissatisfaction in each of the past four years.
The current state of the physical plant at U of T law has a serious impact on the delivery of key priorities at the law school:
- Space limits student access to professors and courses through restrictions on class size imposed by the lack of flexible classroom space
- Co-curricular program expansion has increased the size of the administrative staff, but without space to house them, much of the program delivery occurs off-site
- Student groups are active at the law school, but compete for a limited amount of space for clubs, meetings and events, which limits their activities
- Space also limits the opportunity for extra-curricular events at the law school, which can dampen both faculty-student interaction and the peer-to-peer experience
"Solve the building issue, and we are confident that Toronto can continue to build its distinctive voice in the worldwide legal academic community. Failure in this effort would be a setback."
- External Review, 2010
Victoria University is the interim space for the law school during the construction period
The Faculty of Law is pleased to announce that interim space for the law school during construction of the new Jackman Law Building has been confirmed at Victoria University, across the street from the Faculty of Law.
Library collections and study space will move to the Birge-Carnegie Library during this period. And preferential access to class room, collaborative and event spaces will be given to the Faculty of Law in several other buildings at Victoria University throughout construction time.
There are many advantages to the selected interim space, such as:
- Proximity to the existing law buildings and public transit
- Established and coherent space that continues to foster a law school community
- And a continuum of study space with law collections all under one roof
Take a look at the interim space photo gallery here:
Have a look at a site map of the interim space (PDF), with the uses for each building noted.
Ongoing Student Consultation and Input
The Faculty of Law is committed to ensuring that the transition to the temporary location and the building process in general, is as smooth as possible, with minimal impact on the law student experience.
To this end, we have struck a Building Project Student Committee, which, starting in September 2012, will meet monthly with the Dean and Assistant Dean Students to discuss student priorities concerning the temporary law school space, and the new building.
Ongoing updates will be posted here and on Headnotes.
What are going to be the biggest changes students will face during construction?
There will be a construction site adjacent to Falconer and Flavelle, the Laskin Library will be closed, there will be noise and vibrations, and courses and study areas will for the most part take place at Victoria College.
What will the Faculty offer to help maintain continuity and student cohesion during construction?
Victoria College, close to the existing law school buildings, will accommodate our need for library and classroom space. Falconer will remain open throughout construction and the administration will work to address any concerns about the impact of the construction.
Why does the law school need a new building?
Three separate external reviews since 2000 have all pointed to the lack of adequate physical facilities as the single greatest detractor to the law school in terms of recruitment and overall satisfaction for the students, faculty and staff.
When is construction scheduled to begin? When is construction scheduled to end?
Construction will begin after the end of classes in 2013. Construction is projected to take 18 to 24 months, and we are targeting the opening of the new building to welcome the incoming class in Fall 2015.
During the construction phase, which offices/spaces will be affected?
The project has three components: a new Crescent Wing that will fit behind Flavelle and between the Laskin Library and Queen’s Park, following the contour of Queen’s Park Crescent; there will a complete renovation and re-cladding of the Laskin Library building, and some renewal of the ground floor of Flavelle House.
During the construction phase, where will classrooms and common student spaces be relocated?
Victoria College, close to the existing law school buildings, will accommodate our need for library and classroom space. Falconer Hall will remain open throughout construction.
What plans are in place to update information and communicate about the building project with the law schools stakeholders?
The Faculty of Law website will have periodic updates, the Dean will regularly update Faculty Council, and there will be committees struck to consult on the move and start of construction as we move forward in the process. Contact the Student Law Society at email@example.com
if you have questions or concerns.
Will there be lockers?
Yes, we will have access to student lockers in Victoria College. Plus, many of our current lockers in Flavelle House will be accessible during the build.
Will Flavelle/Falconer be completely closed or will we still be able to enter the buildings?
Falconer Hall will be untouched by the building process; all offices and classrooms in Falconer Hall will be accessible during the build. Also, the historical portion of Flavelle House--the part including the Rowell Room, fireplace lounge, dining room, and faculty offices-will be usable during the build.
What are the classrooms like?
Victoria College has a huge variety of classrooms, including small traditional seminar rooms to accommodate our small seminar classes, like our FA1 and FA3, as well as more modern, amphitheatre-type rooms, like our BLH.
Will there be plugs for laptops in the classrooms?
Yes. Victoria College has many classrooms with accessible power sources. We will have priority booking for the rooms that are fully outfitted with electrical outlet access. Where a class is scheduled to take place in a more traditional room like our FA1 and FA3 where there are fewer outlets, we will provide power bars. By providing power bars in Victoria College's classrooms, we actually will be improving our current access to electrical outlets.
Will faculty and admin be at Victoria College as well? How will the move affect our interaction with the CDO, financial aid, and the registrar's office?
All student services, and most staff and faculty, will stay in their current offices in Falconer Hall during the build to avoid any disruption. The staff and faculty who do move will be easily accessible in the interim space (all within feet of the main study and student spaces).
What kind of kitchen facility will be available?
Similar to the current facilities, students will have access to a fridge and microwaves. We understand that having the ability to store and make your own food is very important to many students and we will ensure that students are able to do both in the interim space.
In addition to the kitchen space, in Victoria College we will be across the street from the new Goldring Centre which will have a fully licenced cafe and patio. This will provide a great space for students to grab a quick bite and relax with classmates and friends.
What will be the room booking procedures for student club events?
Victoria College has its own space booking procedure that is very similar to ours (using an online format). We will make sure that the room booking process is user-friendly and well-publicized to law students so that you can book rooms just as easily as you can now.
In addition, there is a great diversity of available rooms to book in Victoria College. This will provide students with even more spaces than are currently available when booking events and study sessions.
Are there study rooms available in the interim space?
As in our current space, in Victoria College law students will be able to book study space. There will be some smaller spaces and some spaces that will be able to accommodate larger meetings or study groups.
What common space is available outside of the library?
We are committed to ensuring that JD students will have a dedicated social space in Victoria College, comparable in size to the Rowell Room. In addition to a space dedicated to law students, Victoria College has a number of rooms that students can book for meetings and events. We understand that this is a key concern of students and are working to ensure that the space will fulfil the needs of students.
Will first year admission increase in the new building? Will it decrease during the interim years?
What other facilities will be available to us while we are in the interim space?
The new Goldring Centre at Victoria College will be completed by January 2013, and is right across the street from Birge-Carnegie, where our library and student space will be housed. The Goldring Centre will offer a number of wonderful student spaces including: a licensed café with outdoor patio, a student pub with performance space, a two-story student lounge, and new outdoor green quad.
We will also have easy access to university libraries within easy walking distance, and a few beautiful green spaces that can be used for events such as our Orientation activities and the Deans annual BBQ.