Ryerson’s plans for its health sciences building emphasize sustainability and aim to make it a precedent for future campus development.
The sustainibility focus will happen through leadership, design and the architecture itself. Ryerson’s vice-president administration and finance, Julia Hanigsberg, said this is Ryerson’s first project to prioritize sustainability.
“We’re loading a lot on this building in terms of teaching us and helping us to drive the project,” Hanigsberg said. “This is the first building where we are looking at life-cycle operations, how much it costs to operate this building and how efficiently to run every part. It will help us not only with this building but for the future of Ryerson.”
The future location of the building is the Church Street Development (CSD), at 300 Church St., currently a parking lot south of the Interior Design building. The mission statement for the CSD is, “creating connections for a healthy city.”
The architecture firm Perkins+Will has designed what it hopes will be “the healthiest building in Canada,” according to the lead designer Andrew Frontini, who spoke at a campus media roundtable last Thursday.
The goal for the CSD is to make spaces where collaboration and communication thrive and to construct a building that will become the southern “anchor” of Ryerson’s campus. The building will dedicate the bottom eight floors to the nursing, midwifery, occupational public health and nutrition programs, including labs, classrooms and boardrooms. There will be at least an additional 20 floors of residence (approximately 250 beds) and four floors of underground parking. The team is hoping to create an evidence-based design with tools to measure and monitor energy and water usage between floors.
“We create a culture where achieving energy and water-use targets is important and we do that in a student’s life where they are beginning to live on their own, so they can take it beyond university,” Frontini said.
The academic part of the building will allow students from different programs to gather in a central location. The students from these programs can mingle throughout the property, which doesn’t currently happen due to the way programs are scattered around the campus.
Other benefits will be a rooftop garden that Frontini says may even grow vegetables for the nutrition program. There will also be green areas that connect the building to other parts of campus.
The building will house a “fabrication zone” where an advanced technology area will be a priority. Among the 8,000 square feet of the zone will be a variety of 3-D printers.
The director of the occupational public health program, Thomas Tenkate, said he is excited about the overall idea to enhance teaching and learning within the new building.
“My personal sense is that having these schools located in the new building will allow growth and communication for all students in these programs,” Tenkate said.
Construction of the building is expected to start by September 2015 with the building fully furnished and “move-in ready” for the 2018 fall term. After a first budget prediction of $84 million in 2011, the final budget is expected at $104 million.
The provincial government gave $56.4 million to the project. Ryerson is going to pick up the other $48 million of the bill.
This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on March 19, 2014.