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An Editorial From All of Us

In 2000, Santiago Calatrava unveiled the most ambitious building project in Ryerson’s history. His design for the new engineering building included glassed-in hallways, a multi-storey courtyard and a serpentine, 33-floor tower.

There was just one problem. The building would cost $90 million to build, more than $25 million over Ryerson’s budget. The school balked at the cost and sent Calatrava — a world-renowned architect — packing. The following year, Ryerson found a cheaper design that would allow the building to be finished quickly and within its price range.

The result? The tower was sawed off, the building shrank drastically, and today engineers still take classes in Kerr Hall, because their own building isn’t big enough to fit them all.

Sure it came in on budget, but a revolutionary building was compromised for a conventional, not-quite practical one.

With the Master Plan, Ryerson, like Calatrava, is dreaming big. The artists’ renderings show huge buildings filled with natural light, big common areas and beautiful architecture.

It looks to be the revolution the school desperately needs. But it’s going to take a lot of discipline to make sure these actually get built.

Until now, the planning process has been easy. The $1 million spent so far has given a decent, albeit sparse, set of principles with no need for commitment. Now, with the buying of Sam the Record Man, the commitment begins and this is not the time to get cold feet. This is Ryerson’s chance to say farewell to its Rye High image, and haul the university into the 21st century.

So Ryerson — from your loveable friends at the Eyeopener — don’t fuck it up.

In the next 20 years, the school is bound to be tempted many times to make the new buildings smaller and cheaper to build them faster. We can’t fall into that trap.

This campus is going to be here for decades — possibly centuries — and there’s no point in building the shitty, unambitious buildings of yesterday’s university. If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right. If it takes time to get it right, let’s take the time. If it costs money to make it good, let’s spend the money. Naturally, financial prudence must reign — but now is the time when we can afford to roll the dice.

An investment like this pays for itself. Think of all the engineering students who could be in the same building today if the school had just taken two extra years to get the building right.

We’ve had enough of compromises and cheap ideas. This is Ryerson’s future. Let’s do this thing right.

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