By Rob Granatstein
Ryerson needs this student centre. The timing’s perfect. How can you say no?
There is no more space at this school. Ask the Aerospace Engineering course union. For the past year they’ve been trying to get a measly little office. Ryerson can’t even find space in the steam room for these folks.
Oakham House is wonderful, but it’s packed now — and Ryerson’s population is expanding.
What about money? Uniformed estimates have the cost at $12 million. RyeSAC says that’s way too high, although the council refuses to give a concrete figure.
Still, with the city contributing as much as $2 million, Ryerson pitching in a million bucks, plus RyeSAC and Ryerson Centre’s $1.2 million, we have a great start. And interest rates are low.
The $60 fee wouldn’t start until 1999-2000, and all student paying into the fund, except those now in second year, will be able to use the facility.
So don’t be shortsighted. What if your predecessors said no to the RAC 10 years ago? It’s now one of the most popular places on campus, and as of next year will be paid off.
A student centre would mesh wonderfully with a complete resurrection of the south end of Ryerson’s campus, including the Merchandise Lofts on the east side of Church Street, a revitalised Oakham House and the massive Yonge-Dundas redevelopment project.
Adding a necessary new home for students in the underused space that wraps around O’Keefe House is a key step for this aging and stale campus.
Closing down Gould Street, between Church and Bond or Victoria Streets would complete the area, giving students another place, like the quad, where they didn’t have to worry about dodging traffic.
RyeSAC’s plans are not perfect. But there will be enough time for student input to make this building work and make it wonderful.
This isn’t about building a neat place to hang.
This is the best chance to add a new building that we, the students, will have claim to and need at Ryerson. It would be a shame to waste that chance when we need it so badly.