By Michael Traikos
Tucked in a corner on the second floor of the soon-to-be-built Student Centre is the Ryerson health office. Shouldered next to it and keeping the theme of student services are the offices of RyePride and the women’s centre.
Down the hall the theme of media is apparent, with CKLN and the future site of The Eyeopener placed side-by-side.
“We made a decision that the Student Centre should have a theme,” said RyeSAC president Odelia Bay who, along with other building committee representatives, visited Ontario university student centres for inspiration.
Almost a year since the building committee first started working on a concept design, RyeSAC finally has something to show the people most affected by the new campus hub. Students will have a final chance to offer feedback on the finalized drawings of the Student Centre on Tuesday in the Credit Union Lounge.
“The point is we’re getting close to finalizing things,” said Bay. “It’s for students to have the opportunity to have a look at them [the drawings]. Our motto is either stay cold or give feedback.”
Ian Hamilton, director of campus planning and facilities, said he is confident that students and staff at Ryerson will embrace the Student Centre.
“These plans far surpass my wildest dreams,” he said. “They meet the programmatic requirements and they’re on budget.”
Hamilton said that he wasn’t prepared to move on to the next stage of development — working drawing phase — if the concept design had gone over the $11 million budget.
“That’s paramount,” he said. “We can’t move from stage to stage without that [being on budget].”
It’s been a rocky road for the building committee since last May, when project management company Gespo Ont. was chosen to oversee the construction process.
Since then, representatives from RyeSAC and Ryerson administration have regularly argued over what the vision of the building should be.
In an interview with The Eyeopener last January, RyeSAC v.p. finance Ken Marciniec expressed frustration with the building committee, and wondered if he would see a final concept drawing before the end of the semester.
“We should have had a concept design approved already,” Marciniec said at that time. “It should have been completed by now.”
But both Marciniec and Bay denied any part of the process was rushed to meet an end of the semester deadline.
“Yeah, it was one of the things that I wanted to see done,” said Bay, “but if I didn’t feel confident I wouldn’t want to bring it for general comment.”
Hamilton also said the building committee wasn’t concerned about having something finalized before the end of the semester, but admitted it was on his mind.
“I’m not saying I wouldn’t have minded,” he said. “We might have pushed the envelope in the detailed design and concept design in some spaces. But I don’t think we had the looming deadline as the motive.”
Hamilton did admit that the building committee pushed back some of the troubled issues concerning the building in an attempt to move forward.
The last time Hamilton spoke with The Eyeopener, the building committee members were at opposite ends concerning the designation of a Church Street entrance.
Looking at the concept design, the solution for this problem doesn’t appear to be resolved. Instead, Hamilton said that the committee will look at specific issues at a later date.
“We had to decide as a committee what we can decide on now and what can be pushed to later,” he said.
The building committee has set a tentative three-month deadline for the working drawing phase. Come September, the committee hopes to be discussing the details of the building’s design.
RyeSAC will also be displaying information about the Student Centre as part of their annual general meeting next Wednesday, March 10 at 5:30 p.m. at Oakham House. It will be the last opportunity for students to tell RyeSAC what they like and want to see changed with the building.
“If they do have questions and concerns they need to come out,” said Bay. “We’re hoping we get a good response.”