Artist rendering of the future Armouries site. (provided by the University of Windsor)

University To Open Armouries In January

A long-awaited expansion project for the University of Windsor is nearing completion.

The university is driving toward the end of a two-year construction project, transforming the former Windsor Armouries site, across from the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel exit, into the school’s new School of Creative Arts (SoCA). The work affects the historic Armouries building along with an adjoining building that was once the site of the iconic Tunnel BBQ restaurant. The university purchased the restaurant building when it closed three years ago.

The Armouries project is the school’s latest foray into downtown Windsor. UW transformed the former Windsor Star building into its new School of Social Work last year but recently scrapped a plan to move its law school into the Paul Martin Building on Ouellette Ave.

The new Armouries will house the university’s music, visual arts, film and media arts programs, which are currently in smaller, aging quarters on the main campus.

The new state-of-the-art facility was supposed to be completed in time for the start of the fall term last month, but John Coleman, UW’s director of public affairs and communications, says they fully expect to be moving the programs in for the start of the 2018 winter semester.

“It’s moving forward, and the plans are definitely underway that we’re going to be having classes in there in January,” says Coleman. “At this point, it’s just completing and finishing off the work.”

Coleman acknowledges that there were some construction delays and a contingency plan was to move in by November, but the university decided it was better to start fresh after the holiday season with the new semester.

“The building wasn’t quite finished…the Armouries is dedicated to music,” says Coleman. “If somebody’s still hammering away and doing work like that, it’s going to be very distracting.”

Coleman also says the university did not want to disrupt things by completing a move downtown in the middle of the semester when students are in the midst of projects and completing coursework.

The Armouries will be unveiled later in the fall with a grand opening.