A nervous, excited hush fell over Eastern Construction crew and a crowd of fascinated onlookers. This was the day we had all been waiting for; a moment when months of hard work coalesced into undeniable progress on the renewed school at 371 Bloor.
All eyes turned to the sky as the 500-tonne mobile crane raised the first structural steel beam, weighing in at 28,000 pounds, into the air. Slowly, carefully, crew helped to guide it across the length of the double gym, with tag lines held by two workers on the ground.
As the crane and workers edged the beam into place, a laser-like sound echoed across the construction site – the sound of rebar, reinforcing steel built into the concrete walls, reverberating against the weight of the beam – the sign of a job well-done!
That was the first beam. Over the next three hours, the crew maneuvered a total of 11 steel beams into place, the largest even heavier at 32,000 pounds. In order to safely perform this marvel of engineering, the mobile crane was secured with 242,000 pounds of counterweights to hold it in place.
The mobile crane is just a temporary visitor for structural steel installation, and the tower crane, so long a fixture above 371 Bloor, has already departed. Steel installation is also continuing in the courtyard, and in the atrium the grand central staircase is looking more and more like an actual staircase instead of a construction site.
Regarding the construction schedule, the good news is that the majority of the trade crews are now back on site after the four-week COVID-19 shutdown imposed by the government. The project is also facing some further delays related to government requirements for social distancing on the construction site. The UTS Steering Committee was informed on July 6 by Eastern Construction that the projected occupancy date is currently mid-November 2021. We hope to move in as soon as possible in late November or early December. The auditorium will not be ready at that time but we anticipate that it will be finished by January 2022.
The safety of workers continues to be paramount. When arriving on-site, workers submit health self-assessments. A rigorous disinfection process on surfaces and locker rooms also helps keep them safe and healthy, so they can continue to bring the transformation of 371 Bloor to life!