Ryerson University students and community members will continue to detour around large portions of Gould and Victoria streets for a while longer, due to the construction.
The project is “on track for the end of 2019, early 2020,” according to Nic de Salaberry, director of planning and development at Ryerson.
“Every major project where there’s a lot of disruption and when you’re tearing one thing up and replace it with another involves some element of uncertainty,” de Salaberry said.
Jen McMillen, vice-provost, students, agreed. “I know that all people, students, staff and faculty are having to adjust,” she said. “Especially when you get really comfortable with a certain route, you know exactly how long it takes and then all of a sudden you get outside and remember, ‘Oh shoot, I can’t go that way.’”
The Campus Core Revitalization project is part of the greater Campus Public Realm Plan, which aims to create welcoming, safe and accessible spaces on campus. The project began in late March 2019, following a $7-million contribution from the city.
While the plaza has been pedestrian-only since 2012, the work to remove street curbs and level the area is expected to make the area safer and more accessible for people to travel across.
“When you design a space that sends the message: No cars here, there’s no curbs, there’s no painting on the road, then people just feel safer and more at ease in that space,” de Salaberry said.
Heated accessible ramp entrances are being added to Jorgensen Hall and Kerr Hall, keeping them snow- and salt-free. As well, there will be added lighting to enhance the area at nighttime. De Salaberry said they are looking into how the lighting could be adjusted for specific events’ needs.
Ryerson is currently taking advantage of the dug-up area to add long-term underground infrastructure, such as Silva Cells, which hold soil for trees to spread their roots, and conduit, a series of pipes to facilitate a secondary fibre-optic network for future information technology needs.
Many students now have to take unfamiliar routes through buildings such as Kerr Hall and the Podium.
“I’ve certainly had a few people that have shown up at meetings a little bit late, but we’re working together as a community to try and be patient, with (an) outcome that is going to be outstanding for our community, for our campus,” McMillan said.
Shoshana Mamann, a second-year professional communications student, is in Kerr Hall often for classes. She also works on campus.
“I definitely add another five minutes to go get my coffee and go to class,” Mamann said. “It cuts into my lunch breaks… during my 10-minute breaks during class, it doesn’t allow me enough time to get to the Tim Hortons or to a building or wherever I need to go.”
“It’s very frustrating. You can’t sit outside,” said Sarah Pacheco, second-year photography student. “If it’s a nice day, you’re just constantly hearing the construction. And it’s just frustrating. It’s not peaceful, which makes me anxious. It’s just annoying.”
De Salaberry said those who are feeling lost can approach Ryerson security guards, as they carry campus maps and can help answer questions.
Last week, signs such as “Construction is an ugly duckling. Swan to follow,” and “Maybe wait to send your folks pics of your school. Photogenic campus in the works,” were placed along the construction fence, in addition to existing directional and accessibility information signs.
More information on the Campus Core Revitalization project and planning routes around campus can be found here.