RyeSAC wants land pledge

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By Tamsin McMahon

RyeSAC wants Ryerson’s administration to commit to how much land and money the school will contribute to the student campus centre project.

David Steele, RyeSAC’s president and co-chair of the student campus centre (SCC) committee, said Ryerson was supposed to hand over a portion of the parking lot behind O’Keefe House for the new building. But v.p. administration and student affairs Linda Grayson, the other co-chair of the SCC committee, said that isn’t so.

Steele said Grayson was willing to donate some of the parking lot space to the SCC in the fall be she now “seems leery” as to whether the parking lot is up for grabs.

Grayson said the lot was never included in the deal and it’s too early to say if it will be a part of Ryerson’s land contribution, which needs the board of governors’ approval.

She said the university has committed itself to donating the land at 55 Gould St. — the former journalism building that now houses the Access Centre.

“The objective is to use the land at 55 Gould St.,” she said, “[but] have we ruled out every possibility? It’s way too early to say.”

The amount of land the SCC will be built on isn’t he only thing being disputed — the university’s financial contribution is also up in the air.

Grayson said the university might be willing to pay for some of the services transferred to the SCC, but it won’t finance the cost of constructing the centre or the mortgage.

“The university is giving the land and that’s worth a lot of money,” she said.

But Steele said the land and money the university gives to the centre will show their commitment to the project.

The SCC will be financed in part by full-time students, who voted in favour of transferring $60 of their fees a year to the SCC (money previously used to pay off the RAC’s mortgage).

In a proposal rejected by Ryerson’s board of governor’s in 1994, the university was prepared to give $200,000 a year to the student centre.

But Grayson says the centre proposed then is different from what the school is looking at building now.

In February, the SCC committee compiled a wish list of all the facilities that should be included in the building, only to find out after taking the space demands to a consultant that the ideal centre would have to be more than 60,000 square feel and cost at least $12 million.

The SCC, which may house offices for RyeSAC, student groups and course unions, student services and CKLN, has already been pared down by eliminating demands from the senior’s group in the building at 55 Gould St. and from CKLN.

Grayson said the stakeholders in the SCC can afford a 35,000-square-foot building for slightly less than $8 million.

These figures for Ryerson’s SCC are more in line with those from student centres at other schools in the area.

The University of Toronto’s Erindale campus is constructing a 32,000-square-foot student entree costing around $6 million. Half the money is coming from full- and part-time students, who are contributing $10 per year for five years. The university also donated $1 million and private donors contributed $2 million.

Centennial College is also building a student centre, a two-storey, 30,000-square-foot building. The students contributed $2 million to the project and the student council took out a $5 million loan. So far the centre is being financed entirely by students, but Centennial’s student council president, Shan Rajadurai, said he will try to get money from the college in September. Rajadurai also hopes private donors will help the council pay back the interest on the loan.

Grayson said there are some possibilities that Ryerson will look to private donors to give money to the SCC.

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