Renovation worries and woes

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By Roman Khazin

The renovations to the Image Arts Building might just be enough reason for Isa Benn to leave Ryerson.

The first-year film student said she’s considering switching to Concordia University’s film program because of the construction. The Image Arts Building, already under repair, will be closed next year and the programs it houses will be moved to other buildings.

Benn said she’s concerned about the availability of film processing equipment when her program temporarily moves buildings, and the possibility of having to use more expensive, out side services for it. “It’s a shame because other than this, I was really enjoying Ryerson,” she said.

The ongoing construction has already created problems, she said. “You’ve got drilling and jackhammering, you can’t hear your prof.”

However, Benn said she is concerned about having to start over in a new school and she is worried about the quality of Concordia’s programs. “I don’t know what they’re doing,” she said. “Would I be missing things?”

But Don Snyder, the chair of image arts, said the university and the program are doing their best to avoid inconveniences like Benn’s.

The photography, film, and new media programs housed in the Image Arts building will be moved to 285 Victoria St., Kerr Hall, and the Rogers Communications Centre.

Snyder said the university is also considering renting stage facilities for the film program.

He said the move will not affect students’ ability to do their work, and they will have all the equipment that is available to them now. “We’re taking every piece of equipment out of the building,” Snyder said. “We’re taking it all with us.”

Snyder said the university considered moving the program to a different building permanently, and looked at ones within a 15 minute walking distance from campus.

The top contender was the Olympic Spirit building, located at Victoria and Dundas Streets, but was rejected.

Alex Alter, associate chair of Image Arts, said Ryerson wanted a building that could withstand an earthquake. He said that the Image Arts Building fir this criteria, while the Olympic Spirit building did not.

But Chris Butcher, a third-year film student, would rather the school move into buildings like Olympic Spirit than close the Image Arts building for a year.

Butcher considered taking a year off during the renovations, but decided against it.

Still, he said, the renovations get in the way of students’ work, which should be Ryerson’s top priority.

“It’s more important for our work to be its best, not to have the shiniest buildings,” Butcher said.

Adrionna Datolli, a third-year photography student, agrees. “We can’t do everything we could,” she said. “We’re limited.”

In particular, she was concerned about the likelihood of not having darkrooms for colour photography next year.

Snyder, however, said the colour darkrooms are already rarely used and may be eliminated altogether.

He also said Ryerson will consider keeping these darkrooms, and may set them up in the Ryerson Gallery at 80 Spadina Ave.


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