Breaking: New health science building plans announced for Church Street Development

(Matt Oxman / The Ryersonian)

Andrew Frontini, lead designer, speaks to campus media at the Perkins+Will offices in Toronto. (Matt Oxman / The Ryersonian)

Ryerson University has officially announced plans for its new health science building at 300 Church St.

The property is currently a parking lot beside the Interior Design building referred to as the Church Street Development (CSD).

Julia Hanigsberg, vice-president administration and finance, met with campus media at the offices of Perkins+Will, the architects on the project. The Toronto, Dundas and Vancouver offices of the architecture firm will be working on the building. They are working towards designing “the healthiest building in Canada” in terms of sustainable design.

The base building for the health science programs will be eight storeys while the residence tower atop it could be 20 storeys or higher, making it comparable in height to another residence building to be constructed on Jarvis Street.

“It’s going to be a big building on campus, one of biggest,” said Andrew Frontini, design director and lead for the project, adding that the building will be about 172,000 square feet.

The project budget is slated as $104.4 million. In 2011, the former provincial government  invested $56.4 million into a new health science building, which will cover part of the cost. The remaining $48 million will come from Ryerson. The Ryersonian initially reported that the building would cost a total of $84 million. 

The building is set to include a green roofscape and connections to other building on campus, and there will be extensive landscaping. It will house health science programs such as midwifery, nursing, nutrition and occupational and public health.

The early building construction is slated to start in September 2015 and main construction in February 2016. It is expected that students would be able to move into the residence portion in August 2018.

“We’re creating a building you and I will occupy,” Ryerson president Sheldon Levy was quoted saying at one of the visioning meeting with the architects. “But we’re designing a building for generations to come that will help build a better community for Ryerson.”

The main faculty of science building will be built on another of Ryerson’s properties, 202 Jarvis St. The current faculty of science building is located in 285 Victoria St.

“Ryerson prides itself as a city-building university and we’re trying to capture that,” said Frontini.

There will also be facilities for food services and student engagement, a “fabrication zone” housing 3-D printers and other technology, and university administration including university advancement and communications, government and community engagement. The residence component will have at least 250 beds and there will be four levels of underground parking.

“When people are moving from new centres of growth to the heart of campus, they will be passing thorough our site,” said Frontini.

The firm is currently in the middle of schematic designs, which they expect to finish in June of this year, at which time they expect to have a rendering of the building. Afterwards, they will speak with engineers and make plans for sustainable design and they expect to have more design plans later this year.

In the presentation, the firm emphasized a “pedestrian-friendly public realm” and that they want to create a neighbourhood in the downtown campus area.

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