By Alexandra Holyk
In an emailed statement to The Eyeopener, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi said he is “excited to share that the university will begin removing portions of fencing starting next week.”
“There will still be some fenced in areas as work continues, and we will communicate with you soon when we have a better idea of timelines for completion,” the email read.
No further information was provided by the president or by Ryerson media relations in time for publication.
Construction on Gould Street continues to pose navigational challenges for students as the project surpasses its scheduled completion date at the end of the fall 2019 semester.
Since the construction began on March 27, students have said they feel frustrated that they still have to find alternate routes to get to class in the cold weather.
The renovations make the campus look “ugly”
Lachemi added that the construction was prolonged due to aggravating factors including the weather.
Ashan Mahendran, a second-year graphic communications management student, said he avoids walking outside and instead uses the Sheldon & Tracy Levy Student Learning Centre to get to his classes on time.
“[Having to detour] just makes it longer because a lot of students will be late when they go around construction,” Mahendran said, adding that he thinks the ongoing renovations make the campus look “ugly.”
The Eyeopener previously reported that the goal of the Campus Core Revitalization 2019 project—which is a partnership between the City of Toronto and Ryerson—is to create a more accessible outdoor space, ensure better infrastructure and prioritize the safety of students and community members.
In a website post, Ryerson said the area will become a pedestrian-only zone, as they level the roadway with the sidewalk and add two accessible entrances at Nelson Mandela Walk.
Lachemi also mentioned the addition of several features including “upgraded pedestrian lighting fixtures” and electric heat tracing on accessibility ramps for snow and ice removal.
Emily Ross, a first-year hospitality and tourism management student also shared her frustration regarding the delays.
“I do not understand why [Ryerson] can’t hire more workers to get the job done faster because it’s not like the school doesn’t have the money to pay for them,” said Ross.
Ryerson provided students with detour signs and maps to navigate the construction during fall 2019 Orientation Week.
Student volunteers were also positioned around campus and at major subway stations to help students find their classes.
“I do not understand why Ryerson can’t hire more workers to get the job done faster”
In September, Janet Hercz, executive director of business operations and space planning at Ryerson’s facilities department discussed students’ concerns surrounding the project.
“We held extensive consultations with the Ryerson community in advance of the construction to determine needs and [how] to proactively address issues,” Hercz said.
In an email to The Eyeopener back in November, the university said that they could not provide an updated cost of the campus core revitalization project.
“At this point, we can’t speak to what the final cost or budget will be. As with any construction project, project scopes and complexity can vary as work happens. To date, the project is tracking on budget,” said Ryerson’s public affairs.
Ryerson’s media relations were unable to provide a comment in time for publication.
With files from Charlize Alcaraz