New North Toronto welcomes first students

Not everything is 100 percent ready but school starts on time

Back-to-school was a little different for students and staff at North Toronto Collegiate Institute this year.

Undergoing a major overhaul of the entire grounds, the school community is now immersed in a state-of-the-art facility surrounded by two high-rise condominiums instead of an out-of-date building falling apart at the seams.

But while classes have started, not everything is 100 percent ready, according to Principal Joel Gorenkoff.

“The facilities are definitely ready for use,” he said. “All programs (are running) except for our field, which is being built currently.”

The sports field should be completed by late spring. While there is still some fine-tuning being done at the school, Gorenkoff said, there is nothing structural left unfinished, nor is there anything posing a safety concern that is still to be completed.

“Regular deficiencies are typical in a building of this size and complexity,” Gorenkoff said. “I’m talking about certain computer jacks not working, or a new light switch needs to be put in, or a lock isn’t working. That type of thing.”

While there are still these minor adjustments being worked out, including heritage elements such as former athletes’ pictures, Gorenkoff said it is no way a fault of the architects, and that everything should be ready by the time of the grand opening.

“(The architects) are very innovative and they’ve done a great job in creating this place for us,” he said. “Our goal is by our grand opening on Sept. 29 to have the aesthetics all complete. We want to make sure North Toronto looks like North Toronto.”

Gorenkoff said even with a few tweaks left, the students seem to be very happy with their new building.

“Even before school started, I was taking some of the kids around and showing them some of the features and their jaws dropped,” he said. “The kids who were in the old school were used to having very insufficient facilities.”

Adding that the former building of North Toronto had one of the smallest libraries in the city and one of the smallest gyms, Gorenkoff said the new facilities give them opportunities they’ve never had in recent years.

“We could never hold championship games, and then (students) see this (gymnasium) and they’re just like ‘Wow!’” he said. “When you look at the gym from the gallery, it reminds me of a college-sized gym.”

“What we can do here is just great. We’ve come so far,” he added.

About this article:

By: Shawn Star
Posted: Sep 22 2010 4:22 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto