By Mariana Ionova
Ryerson may have to spend between $1 million and $5 million to operate and manage Maple Leaf Gardens (MLG), according to a search request filed by the university last week.
Ryerson filed a request stating it sought a company to oversee the administration and management of the Sports and Recreation Centre at the MLG. The company used to file the request estimated the cost of management of the facilities at several million dollars.
“We have asked them what the management of the Gardens would require,” said Linda Grayson, Vice President of Administration and Finance.
“No decision has been made yet.”
The university is feeling the pressure to find a company fast and has posted the request only for one month, hoping to find a candidate by Oct. 15.
“If anything, we should have been on to this earlier,” said Levy. “There is a level of urgency to get this done because it’s not long before that company has got to be in place.”
Levy noted that, although the facilities will not be completed for another few months, a management team must be selected in time for the opening so that operations can run smoothly.
“There are literally hundreds and hundreds of issues in managing a complex that big.”
But the annual operating budget for the MLG could potentially be nearly five times as much as the current budget of the Recreation and Athletics Centre (RAC).
“Right now, RAC is about $1 million, maybe $1.3 million,” said Ivan Joseph, director of athletics.
MLG could cost more to operate because of its sheer size, according to Joseph. Currently, the RAC spans 50,000 square feet, while Ryerson’s portion of the Gardens is 150,000 square feet.
Another aspect that adds additional cost to the new facilities is the extra programs that may be offered.
“Now all of a sudden, we’ve added an ice rink; well, now you need a full-time ice engineer and different staffing costs,” said Joseph.
“If this place was nothing but gyms, we would have significantly lower operating costs.”
Since the details of the facilities have not been worked out yet, the budget is left conservatively broad, said Joseph.
But this doesn’t mean students have to pay for the extra operational costs, Joseph assured. “The cost for the students won’t go up no matter what it costs to operate it,” said Joseph.
But, if the MLG operating budget winds up closer to the $5 million outlined in the request, prices of community memberships and specialty classes like yoga and spinning may rise.
Photo: Marta Iwanek