By Aidan Hamelin
Ryerson students, faculty and investors gathered on March 31 in the Student Learning Centre (SLC) for the landmark’s official grand opening, celebrating the [$112 million dollar] answer to the question “where is Ryerson anyway?”
“The time has arrived,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, referring to the SLC’s official opening. “But in a sense, on day one the time arrived, because it was day one, hour one when the students said ‘I’m moving in.’”
The SLC unofficially opened its doors to students in February, with a cold open that was intended to let students acclimatize to the new learning space, but according to Levy, it only took a few hours.
“Eh, all of this is not as important as the students enjoying the building and so I’m happy to do this because you have to recognize the donors and the support you got in a formal way,” Levy said. “But the real gift was when the students said ‘I love it.’”
The building exists now as the latest towering addition to Ryerson’s growing Toronto presence, a forward-thinking design and concept that is the university’s own at Yonge and Gould Streets.
“This is the library of the 21st century,” said chief librarian Madeleine Lefebvre, who has dedicated the past seven years of her life to overseeing the project.
“In the past, architects designed libraries for books — they weren’t very people friendly — and I believe that libraries should be congenial space where you learn more because of the environment,” Lefebvre said.
“We called it the Student Learning Centre, it’s about students and about learning,” said Mohamed Lachemi, provost and vice-president academic. “This is a building that is for the 21st century and it defines how we give importance to students to work, learn and innovate.”
Despite its cost and seven long years of development, the SLC has already become a valued resource to the student population.
Estelle Foh, a second-year environment and urban sustainability student, says they have used the SLC roughly every day since it opened.
Foh appreciates “the way that the building has been designed to encourage a collaborative interaction with other students.
“It’s great that Ryerson finally has this great communal space,” Foh said. “Fucking finally.”