Proposed changes include removing sections of Kerr Hall and expanding the Quad’s green space
If you walked through Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre Tuesday, you might have gotten a sneak peek of what the school’s future looks like.
The university held its fourth and last open house this past week that addressed the proposed changes to campus. These consultations took place ahead of the scheduled April 2020 release of Ryerson’s new master plan for campus redevelopment.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Student Learning Centre (SLC) was filled with displays and a structural model showing concept ideas that could guide future campus growth. Students were able to ask members of Ryerson’s Facilities Management and Development (FMD) department questions and submit feedback via an online survey and by leaving sticky notes on displays. FMD has been working for the past 12 months on updating Ryerson’s master plan.
“It’s not time-bound. It’s not funded. It’s not yet approved,” said Molly Anthony, director of real estate for FMD. “But this is our process to make sure that the community buys into these big ideas because they would mean a lot of changes for the campus.”
Anthony describes the campus master plan, which guides Ryerson’s long-term redevelopment goals, as a “high-level, really flexible document.” She said it needs that flexibility because of the amount of change that can happen in 10 or 20 years.
It’s been over a decade since the original master plan was released in 2008 and, according to Ryerson’s website, enrolment has grown over 32 per cent since then. Current projects, like the Campus Core Revitalization project — which is responsible for the ongoing Gould Street construction — are based on ideas from the original master plan.
Anthony estimates that at least 200 people took part in Tuesday’s consultation. In addition, more than 600 people have participated in past interviews, pop-ups and workshops, according to FMD’s website.
An idea for “intensifying” or adding height to Ryerson’s International Living/Learning Centre (ILC) came from a workshop with architecture students. Given the limited space Ryerson has for expansion, many of the concepts on display involved redeveloping the campus vertically, including one iconic building: Kerr Hall.
At the centre of Tuesday’s open house was a small-scale, 3D-printed model created by the architecture firm Dialog, which has partnered with Ryerson. The model replaced Kerr Hall with a large building on the east side of the Quad and expanded park space where the building currently sits.
For now, it’s just one of the proposed concepts for the space, but change is likely coming to Kerr Hall.
“The process of listening to students and listening to others has brought us to this point of saying that Kerr Hall is beyond its useful life,” said Nic de Salaberry, director of planning and development for FMD.
Feedback from Tuesday’s event will be used to refine the concepts and ideas going into the proposed updated campus master plan, which the university hopes to have approved and released by April.
In an email, Anthony said that a preliminary review of the comments from Tuesday’s open house showed that more than 85 per cent included positive feedback. The full survey results will be posted to their website next week.
The FMD plans to hold another community consultation after the new campus master plan is released. The date for the next consultation has yet to be announced.