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Undercover Joe

Getting to school on time is hard enough as it is. But when your class is in the new AMC theatre in Toronto Life Square, it feels like a Stairmaster workout.

“It took me 13 minutes from the business building to get all the way here, so I was late for class,” said John Peters, a second-year business student.

Even considering the travelling time, Peters likes his class at the AMC.

Despite a few inconveniences, many students like going to school at the movies. Since school started, about 8,000 students have invaded the Toronto Life Square for class. In all, Ryerson takes over 12 of the 24 theatres in the morning. Currently, only eight are in use with the rest tentatively opening next semester.

Inside, students hike up three escalators to their makeshift lecture halls in the AMC. The good news is that the escalators run smoother than those in the Library building. The bad news is that if your class is on the upper level of AMC, you’ve got to trek up yet another level.

Once upstairs, students have to clear the security checkpoint at the theatre entrance. Ryerson student I.D. is required to get in.

“It kind of feels like you’re being carded every time you go in,” Peters remarked.

Once class begins, the trek is almost worth it. Students like the cushy red seats and Peters, who sat at the back, said he could see and hear everything just fine.

History professor Mima Petrovic is excited about screens films in her class. Her lecture podium is too small, but she’s happy with the engaging atmosphere.

“I wouldn’t mind being a student in such a classroom,” said Petrovic.

But there are mixed reviews about the plastic trays that snap into the cup holders and act as makeshift desks.

Ashley Biren, a second-year architecture student, is under five feet tall and and is too small to properly use the trays.

“I have to stretch really far just to write,” said Biren.

Even so, said Peters, the trays are innovative, big and provide a lot of work space.

Ian Hamilton, Director of Campus Planning and Facilities is pleased with the new trays. He said they’re safe because they pop out easily in case of an emergency.

Both the AMC and Ryerson are bound by the same safety regulations. Non-residential colleges, lecture halls and theatres are classified as “assembly” occupancy structures and need two enclosed exits that lead to the ground floor.

4 über-comfy seats out of 5.

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