A preliminary design and budget has been unveiled for York University’s Markham Centre campus. The project, which is slated to begin late next year, will cost $253 million and consist of a 10-storey building on five acres of ground located on the southeast corner of Enterprise Blvd. and Rivis Rd.

Expected to be open for classes in the fall of 2021, the campus will initially welcome 1,000 and eventually grow to more than 4,200 students after four years. The university will offer 20 degree programs as well as learning opportunities with Seneca College, an academic partner with York on the project.

“We look forward to getting shovels in the ground on a new campus that will contribute significantly to helping us realize our vision for York as well as to city-building in Markham,” said Rhonda Lenton, York University president and vice-chancellor. “The Markham Centre campus supports our commitment to increase high quality, research intensive university education, and to enhancing our connectedness to local and international communities.”

Preliminary designs for the campus, by Diamond Schmitt Architects Inc., reveal a large, landscaped campus commons. The structures feature modern detailing that will allow for maximum light penetration and an openness designed for connectivity to the surrounding community. Those neighbours include the Markham Pan Am Athletic Centre, the YMCA, a retirement community and a secondary school. Nearby there will be shopping centres and, eventually, Markham’s new downtown. The Unionville GO Station will be a five-minute walk from the campus.

The design follows consultation with various York faculties and students to determine needs for learning areas and to reflect what is valued in terms of common spaces.

Markham was selected as the location because of its growth and the number of young people who live in the area.

The Ontario government has committed $127.3 million to the project and York Region, $25 million. The City of Markham has donated the land. York University is fundraising through various community, friends and alumni campaigns.