The Fields Institute Turns Twenty-Five 170725 Final book with covers - Page 59

Practical Matters 37 of underground parking, thus freeing up some surface parking lots, including 222 College Street. In 1992, the Fields Institute could not occupy an entire building by itself. The present building was therefore designed to accommodate tenants on the first floor, tenants that could later be moved if the space was required for the expansion of the Fields Institute. Ground-breaking for the new building took place on Monday, May 16, 1994. There were some hiccoughs, however, in the building. Modifications had to be made to remain within budget. Thus, a grand front entrance and domed library planned for College Street were abandoned (see drawing on pages iv–v), and two fireplaces being considered for the Director’s and Deputy Director’s offices were quietly excised from the plan. When the first steam shovels began to excavate, they immediately encountered a large, buried, disused oil tank. It cost $70,000 to remove this obstacle and then send both the tank and contaminated soil samples to Sarnia for treatment and disposal. This was an early blow to the contingency building fund. At the request of the Fields Institute, the architects planned for many formal and informal public spaces within the building to permit and encourage dialogue, small meetings, and discussion at blackboards. Offices were kept small, and were designed to be occupied by two people. This meant that many discussions and interpersonal interchanges had to move to the public spaces—to seating areas in corridors, the atrium, the library, or the staircase. From the beginning, the choice corner offices on the fourth floor were given to graduate students, four to an office, rather than to senior mathematicians. That the Fields Institute has been successful beyond the wildest expectations of its early proponents is due to several foundational convictions. From the beginning, and