New home in the works

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By Irene Papakonstantinou

Do you want a campus centre without having to pay any extra student fees?

Ryerson students will be asked a question similar to that in a referendum this spring, if the motion passes at Thursday’s RyeSAC board meeting.

The referendum would be held in March during the board of directors elections.

Students won’t be asked for any more money to fund the student centre because RyeSAC wants to transfer the $60 now paid each year for the Ryerson Athletic Centre – which will be paid off in fall 1999 – to fund a campus centre.

“It’s absolutely vital to have students’ opinion,” said Linda Grayson, Ryerson v.p. administration. She said she will recommend Ryerson’s board of directors approve the referendum as well.

“I think that the idea of a student centre is one that we’re all exceptionally  in support of,” Grayson said.

Students could be chilling in a one-stop centre, housing student council, the continuing education students’ association, student groups, health centre,  student services, the Women’s Centre, CKLN and The Eyeopener, as soon as September 2000 – at and estimated cost of $14 million.

RyeSAC is optimistic  about resurrecting the idea of a centre that would create a hub of community activity at Ryerson, based on the, based on the overwhelming success of Oakham House.

“Interaction between student groups would increase exponentially if they were all just doors away from each other,” said David Steele, RyeSAC v.p. administration.

“(A student centre) would create space in the school and minimize the amount of leg work for students.”

RyeSAC is proposing to tear down the Learning Centre and build the student centre beside Oakham House, connecting the two buildings.

“The campus has had incredible growth in the past nine years,” said Steele. “The system  we have now can’t cope with the volume of students who use it. Let’s face it-registration is more like frustration.”

Steele said lineups at the beginning of the year slow traffic around classrooms and escalators, creating havoc for students trying to get to class.

Liz Devine, former RyeSAC operations manager, assisted in a feasibility study in 1994 to see if Ryerson could build a student centre. The study concluded there was a strong demand for one.

“The board of directors decided adding a new fee to students would be difficult to do, so we never even reached the referendum stage,” said Devine.

“I think the new idea of transferring an already-existing fee is more likely to be accepted.”

RyeSAC has about $400,000 set aside to build the student centre. The Ryerson Centre has $700,000, and CESAR will kick in 50 cents a course to help fund a new home.

RyeSAC is also considering renting retail space in the centre to pay for facilities maintenance.

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