(Courtesy Ryerson Builds)

(Courtesy Ryerson Builds)

Chemistry and biology researchers at Ryerson will soon have a place to work in the MaRS Discovery District after years of dealing with cramped space and outdated facilities in Kerr Hall.

With construction currently underway, the 20,000 square feet of new biochemistry, microbiology and cell biology research labs is set to open January 2017. It will have space for 85 people: 12 research professors, each of whom have a team of several graduate students.

The project will cost about $12.3 million for both leasing the space and renovations. Imogen Coe, dean of the Faculty of Science, said the money will come out of operating funds.

The new, open-concept space will be a far cry from the science faculty’s current research facilities in Kerr Hall, which are becoming crowded as the faculty hires new staff.

“One of the issues for laboratory science – and science in general at Ryerson – is that that there’s been a real space crunch,” Coe said.
Researchers in Kerr Hall have had to turn offices into microscope rooms and meeting rooms into mini labs.

“One of the problems with old buildings like Kerr Hall is that it was built about 60 years ago, and science back then was done in very different ways to how it is done now,” Coe said.
“Working in teams is much more common now … so we’re we’re really moving from a very old style of building to the new way of doing science, which is much more collaborative.”

Facilities in the new lab space on College Street include research laboratories, controlled environment rooms, radioisotope and tissue culture facilities and an advanced imaging room.

Coe hopes that the new location will foster further collaboration between Ryerson researchers and other research organizations housed in the MaRS.

The move to MaRS is one step in the Faculty of Science’s master plan, said Coe. Other plans are underway to build an entirely new science building, which will house teaching labs, large classrooms, the science outreach office and student services.

The timeline for this plan depends on when the faculty can get funding. The 2016 federal budget, released last Wednesday, did not include funding for new university buildings.

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