By Carys Mills
Ryerson is getting serious about residence by asking developers to add up to 2,000 residence spaces to house the university’s growing population.
“It should of been dealt with a long time ago,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy.
“That was one of the strategies that we just haven’t moved on.”
Within two weeks, Ryerson will be putting out requests for proposals (RFPs), asking private developers for ideas about where two or three medium-sized residences could go near campus, said Levy.
By adding up to 2,000 spaces, Ryerson could triple its current housing spaces.
Levy said he wants to expand campus and link Maple Leaf Gardens with residences, though actual locations would depend on the proposals he gets.
Turning to the private sector is the only option to increase housing, according to Levy.
“It becomes the difference between affordable and not affordable,” Levy said.
But outsourcing the university’s needs might not be as good as keeping them in house, according to Chad Nuttall, student housing manager.
“I think the services we offer are far above what are offered by strictly private developers,” Nuttall said.
Other campuses have similar partnerships, with varying involvement between the institutions and developers.
“It differs substantially deal by deal,” said Ray Stanton, president of Campus Living Centres (CLC), which has partnered with institutions including the University of Waterloo and Centennial College to develop residences.
Tony Zwig, president of Horizon Legacy Infrastructure Corp, said he is interested in joining with Ryerson.
Horizon developed Campus Common, a private residence opposite Kerr Hall. Horizon is participating in an architecture contest asking for hypothetical residence designs for the Gerrard Copy Centre site, which could be a potential site for a residence, Zwig said.
Nuttall said he hopes proposed residences will use Ryerson housing staff, connecting students to the rest of campus.
“I would hate to see a group of students, especially if it’s like 2,000 students, miss out on all the things we offer here in the residence environment,” said Nuttall.
The wait list to live in one of Ryerson’s three residences has had up to 450 people on it, even after the warning that it’s unlikely local students will get a spot in residence.
“We put hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people through our tours,” said Nuttall. “When it comes down to it, many will never get into residence.”