After nearly four months of delays construction will finally begin on Ryerson’s latest building, the Student Learning Centre (SLC), following a groundbreaking ceremony held at the building’s empty Yonge Street lot Wednesday afternoon.
The SLC will occupy the site of former Toronto landmark Sam the Record Man at the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets. The building will include space for numerous student groups, a digital media zone, a café and additional study space. Its first floor will also house retail space for Yonge street vendors.
“The Student Learning Centre will reinvigorate the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets,” said Ryerson president Sheldon Levy in a press release. “Our students, faculty and staff will soon have a beautiful building.”
In his remarks at the ceremony Levy added that the project would not have been possible without support of the provincial government, who donated $45 million to the project.
The SLC will cost an estimated $112 million, and construction firm EllisDon is expected to complete work on the building in 2014. Its design was a collaboration between Zeidler Partnership Architects of Toronto and Snohetta of Osla, Norway and New York City.
“Ryerson is a very important stakeholder in our community,” said Toronto Ward 27 Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam. “[The SLC] is going to be the new face of Yonge Street, I have no doubt about that.”
While construction on the SLC was supposed to start in January, a number of delays pushed back the day of the groundbreaking.
“We were very careful and focused on the budget,” said VP Administration and Finance Julia Hanigsberg.” Some of the [permits] have taken a long time to get.”
Hanigsberg also added that, because the SLC will not house classrooms or teachers offices, there is not as hard of a deadline on it as on other construction projects such as the Image Arts building.
“In terms of the overall plans it will only set us back a few months,” she said.