By Siri Agrell
Proposals from 25 architectural firms reached Ryerson last Friday and members of the student campus centre committee say it’s the closest they’ve come in nearly 50 years to getting the $11-million project under way.
The committee’s 13 voting members, made up of representatives from RyeSAC , as well as Ryerson’s faculty and administration, have until the end of this week to rank the 50-page proposals.
At the end of the month , they’ll interview the top five architects to find out about vision for the building, which will located at 55 Gould St.
If all goes well, construction could start in March, 2002.
“As soon as we sign this architect, we’re in so far we can’t get out,” said Cory Wright, RyeSAC president and a committee member.
In 1991, the student centre committee spent more than $200,000 to hire an architect and begin the design of a new building, but the project was roadblocked when a student referendum for funds failed.
“The big stumbling block was funding,” said Liz Devine, a long-time committee member. “We were in a recession and students were feeling a lot of economic strain — there also wasn’t the same need for space.”
The committee received approval from Ryerson’s board of governors on Sept. 25 to start construction between Oakham House and O’Keefe House where the Access Centre now stands.
“This is the first time that everyone has agreed to go ahead, and that funding and land have been allotted. All of the chips are on the table,” Devine said.
Another committee member, Ron Stagg, credits the project’s developments to the current student council’s executive committee.
“The last time we got the project underway, one particular group of students argued that it wasn’t the best use of funds, but now it’s a different climate,” Stagg said. “It all depends on the particular interests of the student government.”
The four-storey centre will house all RyeSAC services, including Rye Pride, the Women’s Centre, Copyrite, CKLN and The Eyeopener.
When the design is finalized — possibly by this summer — the committee will start taking bids from building contractors.
“We hope to take down the Access Centre in July,” said Ian Hamilton, director of campus planning and student centre committee member. “But we don’t anticipate building until next year.”