New Student Lounge Now Open

Oct 20, 2014
Author: 
Erin Howe
New Student Lounge

Medical students have a new place to study, meet and unwind. The new Student Lounge is now open next to the Student Commons (formerly known as the Stone Lobby) on the main floor of the Medical Sciences Building.

“We did an intensive survey of students to see what they wanted and how the former lounge was used,” said Heather Taylor, Director of Facilities Management and Space Planning in the Faculty of Medicine. “It was apparent they needed a place to have lunch, read their notes and be social. But on the other hand, there was also a need for quiet meeting space.  So it was a question of how to have one space serving those two needs.”

The solution, designed by Gow Hastings Architects, is a modern, flexible layout that can be divided into two spaces to fulfill a variety of needs. One side can be closed off for activities like meetings, Daffydil rehearsals or yoga classes. That side of the lounge is also equipped with video conferencing equipment, known as a ‘looking glass’, to help students downtown connect with their colleagues at the Mississauga Academy of Medicine. The other section features a kitchen with microwaves and a sink, as well as a place to socialize over a game of foosball or pool.

“It’s important for MD students to have a home on campus,” said Vanessa Zannella, who is in her second year of the program and was part of the planning group. “We spend a lot of time in our respective academies and in the hospitals, so having a place for all of us to meet and connect helps build community.”

One of Zannella’s favourite features of the new space is the artwork. On one wall hangs a series of whiteboard drawings created during last year’s Ontario Medical Students’ Weekend, which was hosted by U of T students. The drawings highlight the conference theme, “Health is Social.”

The new lounge lets students host large events by booking the Student Commons and using both spaces.  As well, the new location means the lounge is now closer to the MSB’s food services and many of the building’s lockers.

As part of the renovation, the Medical Society’s office was also moved into larger space across from the registrar’s office.

“There are a lot of positives around locating the lounge directly beside the Student Commons and in a relatively public area,” said Taylor.

The former student lounge was located on the third floor of the MSB and was not designed to accommodate the variety of ways it was used in recent years.

“The students are hardworking and they spend a lot of time here,” said Taylor. “The new student lounge will be a positive improvement for them and for the building in general. It’s really upgrading the facility as a whole.”

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