Taking Care of Knox

1980’s Revitalization

The 1980’s saw a lot of work done to Knox College. By 1979 it had become apparent the building was in need of work; no large effort at preservation had been made since its construction in 1915.In addition to restoring the building there was a need to make the building fire code compliant. The campaign began in 1979 with the 105th General Assembly granting Knox College the right to begin collecting money.  The campaign would start in 1979 and would end in 1987 and aimed at raising 2.5 million dollars. The Knox News would be created to help keep alumni informed about the college and to encourage donations to the campaign.  The campaign would rely on donations from Presbyteries around Canada. Whenever possible it was encouraged that congregations tour Knox College so they could see what they were putting their money towards. Overall the Campaign would surpass its goals and raised over 4 million dollars; congregational support was crucial to achieving the goal and the majority of congregations donated. The Campaign made many members of the Presbyterian Church aware of Knox’s significance to the Church. Congregations would donate a large proportion of the total money raised for the renovations and much of their donations were often with a specific project in mind. There was an $11,000 donation for the Library air conditioning, and a $24,000 donation to renovate residence rooms. During this time the Knox College building was also named a historical site by the Toronto Heritage Board. The campaign revitalized the College and re-affirmed its status within the church and as an iconic building in Toronto.

The Renovations

The Renovations

There were several improvements made to Knox as a direct result of the Campaign. At the beginning of the Campaign the building was not up to fire code, and much of the electrical wiring had to be replaced throughout the college because it was out of date, energy inefficient, or faulty.There was also a significant amount of work done on the roof of Knox. The roof had not been replaced since 1912, and there was a fear the roof was not being properly drained by the pipes on the roof. This could have caused water to leak indoors, and so roof repairs were a must. Many of the stones in the arches had to be worked on to repair erosion; especially in the Cloister.The kitchen area had to be renovated. This included new kitchen equipment, a complete re-modeling of the kitchen area, new ventilation in the kitchen, new electrical work, new flooring, paint, and re-plastering of the walls. There was a need to partition classrooms to allow for maximum space usage, and a need to restore the gym as well. Lastly a Faculty lounge was built, and this required the men’s washroom to be moved, which resulted in a lot of plumbing work done during the renovations.


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