June 20 2011: Crews clear demolition debris from the site where the Ryerson University Student Learning Centre will be built. The Ontario government will provide funds for Ryerson to construct a new Health Sciences Building, too.
Ryerson growing bigger: It has been just over three months since Ryerson University unveiled the stunning design for the new Student Learning Centre it will begin building later this year at the northeast corner of Yonge and Gould Streets downtown. Now, the rapidly-growing university needs to find a site for a new Health Sciences Building — and select an architect to design it.
Today, the Ontario government announced it will provide Ryerson with $56.4 million to construct a new Health Sciences Building that will feature “state-of-the-art labs and classrooms to house a number of health-related programs, including the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing.” The popular downtown university, which already has 28,000 students, will be able to increase its enrolment by 1,800, thanks to the province’s financial “investment” in the new building.
The university hasn’t yet selected a site for the facility, and also has not yet chosen an architectural firm to design it, said Janet Mowat, Ryerson’s Director, Public Affairs / Marketing and Communications, when I inquired if any renderings are available.
I’m keen to find out if the Health Sciences Building will be constructed somewhere on the Ryerson campus or at another location in the immediate vicinity. (Hmm … I wonder if Ryerson has attempted to acquire the 335 Yonge Street site that has sat empty since the ruins of a heritage building destroyed in a suspicious January fire were cleared away during the winter. That property is directly across Gould Street from the Student Learning Centre site — but might not be big enough for a new campus building.)
I’m also anxious to see if the university will ask architects to come up with another eye-popping design, like the spectacular building that Toronto’s Zeidler Partnership Architects and Snøhetta of Oslo and New York City conceived for the Student Learning Centre. (Full details of that construction project, along with architectural renderings of the Centre’s design, are provided in my April 8 2011 post.)
Ryerson’s popularity with students has been surging in recent years. According to the university, Ryerson “has the highest ratio in Ontario of first choice applications from secondary-school students to number of places available.” The university has been experiencing a building boom, too, to accommodate its increasing enrolment. Already more than halfway through construction is the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre at the corner of Gould and Bond Streets, which I profiled in a January 12 2011 post and in an April 2011 follow-up post. Next up will be the Student Learning Centre where site preparation work is underway and, after that, the Health Sciences Building. And since early spring, the university has been undertaking major sidewalk and streetscape improvements to the new Gould Street-Victoria Street pedestrian zone on its campus.
Below are recent photos of the Student Learning Centre site, as well as the streetscape improvements on Gould and Victoria Streets.
April 30 2011: Ryerson University Student Learning Centre site viewed from the corner of Gould Street and O’Keefe Lane, looking to the northwest
April 30 2011: Student Learning Centre site looking southwest from O’Keefe Lane
April 30 2011: The empty lot at 335 Yonge Street, where an 1880s-era heritage building was destroyed by fire in early January of this year. This property is situated directly across Gould Street from the Student Learning Centre location.
April 30 2011: Streetscape improvements underway on Gould Street near the Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre construction site (rear)
April 30 2011: Ryerson streetscape improvements along Victoria Street
May 13 2011: Development proposal sign at the Student Learning Centre site
May 13 2011: Looking north from Gould Street at the Student Learning Centre site. This was the location of the former Sam the Record Man flagship store.