By Karolyn Coorsh
As construction continued around campus last week, the Finance Committee approved plan for a new continuing educational building.
The new project calls for a new building that will incorporate the façade of O’Keefe House and will house CE administrative offices, instructors and the Continuing Education Students’ Association.
“The building is a dream we’ve had for a long time,” said Marilynn Booth, dean of continuing education. CE offices and programs are currently spread throughout various buildings on campus and rented space at 415 Yonge St.
The building would house those programs, said Booth, so Ryerson would no longer have to pay rent for the extra space.
“Our intention is to be able to relinquish that space,” said Booth, who hopes the rent money will be used for the operating costs of the renovated space.
The projected total cost of the building is over $11 million. While the continuing education program will contribute the bulk of the necessary budget, CESAR may also hold a student referendum to raise about $1 million over the course of a decade through course fees.
Although details have not yet been finalized, CESAR would essentially be paying for prime space in the building.
If the referendum is a success Booth said $1.5 million will still need to be raised.
Renovation plans include adding floors and an extension to the back of the building.
The building, wedged between Lake Devo and the business building, was originally called O’Keefe House and was the head office of Canadian Breweries Limited. It later became campus radio station CJRT’s headquarters but has been vacant for years.
The original proposal for the CE building was presented to the committee in September of 2000 but a lack of funds meant the building could only be four storeys rather than the desired seven.
According to Booth, more money has been raised through the private sector, since the last proposal.
The new financial plan for the building is reasonable, said Ron Stagg, chair of the history department and member of the Board of Governors, although he would like reassurance that money can be raised without having to dip into Ryerson’s operation budget.
“Fundraising is unpredictable these days,” said Stagg, “but it’s not a lot of money to raise. If it was just [the new CE] building then I would have no trouble at all but it adds to the overall debt that Ryerson could carry. So there’s always worry but in itself it’s not a huge fundraising project.”
Booth is optimistic the building will not be a problem for Ryerson’s operating costs. “We’ve been very successful in our fundraising for the Continuing Education building. I don’t think it’s going to be a burden on anybody.”
The proposal will be presented at the next Board of Governors meeting at the end of the month.