POSSIBLE $35M FROM FEDS

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By Carys Mills

Ryerson will get at least $35 million for repairs and construction if the most recent federal budget proposal is approved.

And if the province comes through on its announcement to match that sum, Ryerson could snag up to $70 million to put towards sprucing up the campus.

Canadian universities will be cashing in $2 billion for fixing, maintaining and building up their campuses with the new budget, a figure announced by the federal government on Monday.

Ryerson, however, is not guaranteed the money yet.

Factors influencing how much Ryerson receives from the $2 billion includes how the provincial government decides to divide the funds between Ontario’s universities and colleges.

“Normally it’s formulaic, and Ryerson gets seven per cent. That’s the $35 million,” said Ryerson president Sheldon Levy, referring to the typical process undertaken when federal funding becomes available.

Levy said that while infrastructure repairs aren’t the most glamorous projects to undertake, they’re necessary.

“Governments have put deferred maintenance way, way back on the list because there’s no ribbon-cutting for it,” said Levy.

“You can’t walk around any university in Canada without knowing there is significant need of differed maintenance.”

Ryerson’s list of deferred maintenance, sent to the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), detailed the projects Ryerson would work on if it had the cash and will likely be pursued if the federal budget is approved.

Paul Genest, president of the COU, said building in tough economic times will stimulate the economy and improve student learning conditions.

Projects include reconstructing the roof of the Image Arts building and reducing asbestos, replacing the roof of the Podium and full replacement of the Jorgenson, Podium and Library fire alarm system.

Campus-wide repairs include lighting upgrades, dust cleaning and classroom upgrades.

But the two and a half page list leaves some students feeling left out.

The aging Ryerson Theatre School, home to acting, dance and production students, isn’t listed as a building that Ryerson wants to work on.

“I haven’t ever even heard of renovations [in the Theatre School building],” said second-year theatre production student Cory Macmillan.

Macmillan said there’s a constant threat of damage to sets and props because water leaks and pools in the storage area used by production students.

There are windows that don’t open properly and the basement, also used for storage, was out of use for two months last year because of floods and mold, according to third-year theatre production student C.J. Astronomo.

Ryerson’s list of repairs includes the replacement of drinking fountains in the podium building but doesn’t mention the Theatre School’s.

“The only water fountain we have in this school is broken,” Astronomo said.

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