Ryerson University

Ryerson making big changes to downtown campus

Ryerson University has undergone some significant changes over the past few years. It took over Maple Leaf Gardens (or at least part of it) with the Mattamy Athletic Centre, turned Gould into a pedestrian-only street, built the glowing Image Arts Centre and recently unveiled its brand new Student Learning Centre, complete with a beach-inspired floor.

So what's next for the downtown campus? Communications director Michael Forbes says the school will be focusing on its public spaces with its new public realm policy, which came out earlier this month.

"The whole idea is that we want to reinforce the Ryerson identity, so that when you're on the Ryerson campus, you know you're on the Ryerson campus," he says.

While the term public realm policy might sound rather drab, what it actually entails is rather exciting. Ryerson, as Forbes notes, will use good design principles to animate public areas - like laneways and spaces between buildings - as well as to improve safety and accessibility all around campus. As Metro reports, councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said the city's give $2 million towards this plan.

Since Gould Street - which has been car-free since 2011 - is at the heart of the campus, the plan suggests raising the existing roadway to the sidewalk to make it a single, level surface.

Other design solutions include better lighting, more public art installations, enhanced green spaces and clear campus entrances at Yonge and Gould and Dundas and Victoria. But even though Ryerson is now focusing on these more ground-level projects, it still has a few major buildings in the works.

The Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex is under construction on Church north of Dundas. When it's complete it'll include 100 residential units (i.e. dorms) as well as numerous faculties, including the nursing, midwifery, the school of nutrition and the school of occupational and public health.

Forbes explains that as part of Ryerson's people-focused master plan, it'll connect students from Church to Bond Street.

There's also a massive residence building going in at 186-188 Jarvis St. When it's finished, this 30-storey tower will play host to 593 students.

And, just this week, Ryerson's Theatre School bid farewell to its home at 44 Gerrard St., and hello to its new 17,400 square feet space in the SLC.

"Now that we have all of these tremendous buildings," says Forbes, "we're really looking at how do we improve the precinct, how do we improve the campus? How do we improve the pedestrian experience at Ryerson?"

Next time you walk through Ryerson, you might just see how.

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