Student centre price tag set at $12M

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By Melissa Giddings

The $12-million price tag for Ryerson’s new student campus centre is a bit too rich for the school.

That figure is the one a consultant came up with after looking at the student campus centre committee’s wishes for the new building.

But Ryerson and student council can’t afford that with the resources they have, said Linda Grayson, Ryerson’s v.p. administration and student affairs and co-chair of the student campus centre committee, which includes student representatives and members of Ryerson staff and faculty.

Grayson said the committee must not decide if this wish list is reasonable and what can be cut from overlapping space demands.

“We want to meet all of the students’ needs with the least amount of money,” said Grayson.

The consultant’s report totals the cost of the student campus centre at $12,214,982 for a building that is 67,191 square feet.

“We can afford about a 40,000-square-foot building,” said RyeSAC president David Steele, co-chair of the student campus centre committee.

The school’s earlier calculations, by financial services executive director Janice Winton, said a 40,000-square-foot building would cost about $8 million.

But Steele said the consultant’s $12-million figure is reasonable considering the wish list the committee submitted.

The committee’s next step is looking at its options, which Steele said may include waiting a year to collect more money to build the centre.

“Is that a wise thing to do or do we want to cut things [services] out and go to construction right away?” Steele said.

Included in the wish list for the centre is offices for RyeSAC, CESAR, student groups, course unions, senior’s programs, CKLN and The Eyeopener, as well as retail services such as Copyrite, the Games Room, a post office, pharmacy and travel agent.

Steele said the wish list shows the space everyone would like if there was an infinite amount of money to spend.

But there isn’t — money to fund the centre is coming from student contributions and possibly the city and Ryerson, which is donating the land for the building at 55 Gould St. — so the committee has already agreed to cut down on some of the duplications on the wish list.

The senior’s group had asked for a theatre and lecture room that would have taken up 3,330 square feet of the total 4,576 they asked for. The theatre has been cut from the wish list, and the senior’s space now total 796 square feet for a cost of $112,000, down from more than $1.5 million.

CKLN had asked for a 600-square-foot boardroom, which has also been cut.

Grayson said sharing space is one option. For example, many groups have asked for meeting rooms and a lounge space. Grayson said instead of having separate lounges, a central one is a possibility. “The students need to decide how to make the campus centre work for them and decide what their priorities are,” Grayson said.

After a referendum last March, full-time Ryerson students agreed to transfer $60 of their fees a year beginning this fall from paying off the RAC’s mortgage to a student centre fund, which will raise $768,000 annually. In a referendum last October, part-time students also agreed to redirect fees to the centre; CESAR is expected to collect $87,500 a year.

RyeSAC also has $466,000 set aside and the Ryerson Centre is contributing more than $700,000.

Ryerson hopes to receive $1 million from the city, and will go to city council by the summer after getting approval from Ryerson’s board of governors in April. More money will be raised to pay for the facility from retail services.

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