Another case of wasted space?

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By Maurice Cacho

Students won’t be able to take advantage of a large space in a new campus building due to safety regulations.

About three-quarters of the the Ryerson Business building’s elevated courtyard will remain closed to the public because there aren’t enough fire exits for the area.

Stairwells and hallways around the courtyard would not be able to handle the amount of people exiting the area in an emergency.

“There’s a problem with opening it up because the doors would open to the same place where the lecture halls would empty,” said Linda Grayson, vice-president student affairs and administration.

“You have to make sure that the number of people out there can exit even when people from a class are exiting.”

Grayson the said plan was to keep the area closed off. The area was designed to let natural light pass indoors.

“Then, partly through (development), there was discussion about if this could be made into a zen-like garden,” said Grayson. City building inspectors said a small part could be used after-hours when big lecture halls are not in use, she said. Fourth-year business management student Mike Morgan thinks the open area could be used better. “I guess they could have some benches, maybe a lunch table,” he said.

Regardless, fourth-year nursing student Fiona Springate plans to make the most out of the area.

“They can make it more open up here, but I love that there’s a place to study in the sunshine,” she said.

The situation was reversed two years ago when the George Vari building was opened. A large area in the building designed as study space with 80 study carousels is locked. The Atrium, is occasionally used by the university for special ceremonies.

Second-year aerospace-engineering student Dharan Vinayagarasa said he’s unhappy with how the room is used.

“It’s our building and we have no space,” he said. “It’s getting to be a serious problem.”

Vinayagarasa said he used to study in the Kerr Hall ‘dungeon,’ but was concerned about asbestos falling from the ceiling.

Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said small study spaces have been created on the lower ground, second, and fourth levels of the George Vari building.

The atrium, he said, is Ryerson’s only appropriate space for hosting cermonies.

“I can understand students and faculty looking at that space saying it should be accessible to them,” he said. “Everyone knows one of the biggest issue of Ryerson is student study space.”

— with files from Kody Kunz

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