By John Qubti
The business building may be getting a $1-million facelift.
Ryerson’s administration is working with the faculty of business to fix up a facility many feel is inadequate.
Elevators that frequently break down, narrow, dimly lit hallways, cramped study rooms and chipping paint — business dean Tom Knowlton knows the building at 285 Victoria St. isn’t an ideal atmosphere for learning.
Knowlton said the improvements would be made to the building’s entrance along with the sixth-floor student lounge and the faculty offices on the eighth floor.
Knowlton is listening to feedback from students and faculty on which improvements need to be made first.
“The building looks like an old high school,” said third-year business student James Ghandour. “I don’t get it. We have the most students in the school, and the worst facilities.”
Second-year business student Ola Zabanah remembers one student falling and breaking a chair in the middle of a lecture.
“I think that if we had better facilities, it would create a better atmosphere for learning,” she said.
Ian Hamilton, director of campus planning and facilities, agrees the business building needs some work. Campus planning has been working with the business school to come up with a plan for a makeover.
Hamilton has asked the business department to prioritize what renovations need to be done.
“We’re looking at their wish list right now,” Hamilton said. “We are trying to find programs to go forward with and get them implemented.”
The building is in serious need of renovations, says Ryerson’s v.p. administration and student affairs, Linda Grayson, but the cost of any improvements will have to be evaluated before proposals are finalized.
Knowlton said he has been told a budget for the work would be in the neighborhood of $1 million.
“There will be more cosmetic changes than structural,” Knowlton said. “We want to keep this existing building in workable shape.”
But he knows that spending too much money would undermine his plans of eventually getting a new building.
“We are walking along a fine line,” Knowlton said. “We want a new building and don’t want to overspend with these changes.”
The facelift — if it goes ahead — will be the building’s third major renovation since the school bought the old O’Keefe Breweries bottling plant for $3.5 million in 1966. In 1985, the building underwent a major renovation to rid it of mice and to upgrade the elevators. In 1990, a lecture theatre and two classrooms were installed on the first floor.
Knowlton hopes that at least some of the renovations will be completed for the start of the next school year.