Osgoode students start school year in newly renovated classroom wing

It’s the first day of school for Osgoode Hall Law School students and a very special one at that.

Students, faculty and staff will get their first look today at the law school’s new classroom wing, which has been closed for renovations since April 10.

Demolition and construction work conducted over the past four months has completely transformed the school’s 42-year-old classroom wing, which was the object of much criticism over the years due to its windowless, red-brick design.

Right: One of the new classrooms at Osgoode Hall Law School under construction

Everything in the classroom wing is now new. New lighting. New wood. New windows. New flooring. Leading-edge technology.

“The reopening of our classroom wing marks the beginning of a bright new chapter in Osgoode’s rich history,” said Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin, who was given a sneak peek of the new classroom wing last week. “I think our students, faculty and staff are going to be delighted with this rejuvenated space.”

Sossin, who will address 297 first-year Osgoode students at a Welcome Assembly this morning and later join the students at two barbecue luncheons and a class photo session at Osgoode Hall in downtown Toronto, said the law school has planned a special event for Wednesday, Sept. 8, with the entire Osgoode community to mark the beginning of the school year and the completion of the classroom wing.

Left: An architectural drawing of what Osgoode Hall Law School will look like after renovations are complete

“Anticipation is growing for next summer’s return to our totally renovated and expanded building,” said Sossin, noting that there is still considerable work to be done on the Osgoode building, including the completion of faculty and staff offices, the Law Library, the student common room and the cafeteria. Work on the $50-million renovation and expansion project, designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc., is expected to be substantially completed by the spring of next year.

“I appreciate that we will experience some ongoing inconveniences this academic year with faculty and staff still in temporary offices and some classroom relocations, but together, we will weather whatever comes our way,” Sossin said. “It’s going to be an amazing student-centred building once it’s finished.”

Sossin, who recently set up a Twitter account so he can tweet about the law school and legal issues of the day, said he would like to hear people’s impressions of the new Osgoode classroom wing. Follow him at twitter.com/DeanSossin.