Completed: December 2019
Thanks to a generous signature gift by a UCC family, the renovations mark a major milestone for the heritage building, which was originally completed in 1923 and named for Sir George Parkin, the principal who first established a junior school at Upper Canada College. The cornerstone for the Parkin Building, which was initially a standalone structure, was laid in 1922 by Ontario’s Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Henry Cockshutt.
Glass walls, desks with built-in whiteboards and flexible furniture configurations are some of the notable hallmarks of the revitalization of learning spaces in the historic Parkin Building at the Prep School, which re-opened to students in January 2020.
“There are three named classrooms connected by glass walls and you can open them to allow for maximum interaction and collaboration,” says Tina Brunelle, who has taught in this space for the past 20 years.
In addition to the three connected classrooms, there are two breakout spaces in the hallway that are popular among both students and teachers and a large classroom/presentation/meeting space that has an interior glass wall, allowing occupants to create a smaller conference space. In each space there are interactive desks, the ability to project individual laptop screens onto the wall and furniture for sitting in a more relaxed fashion.
“The second-floor space now supports the transparent, collegial teaching and learning experiences we wish to offer,” says Head of the Preparatory School Tanya Sweeney.
Brunelle says, “As we learn how to maximize our use of this new space, it will offer differentiated and more collaborative learning opportunities and team-teaching options.”
Lisa Brooks, who teaches English and works as an admissions counsellor, believes the new space supports small group-centred teaching and differentiated learning. Boys who need quiet space to work can put on noise-cancelling headphones and concentrate, while others can pair up or work in groups.