York U breaks new ground

Construction of York University’s Markham Centre Campus formally began September 22 with a groundbreaking event at the site for the $275.5 million project, expected to open in fall 2023.

President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton was joined by supporters of the project representing all levels of government: Hon. Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities; MPP Billy Pang (Markham-Unionville); MPP Logan Kanapathi (Markham-Thornhill); MPP Daisy Wai (Richmond Hill); York Region Chairman Wayne Emmerson; Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti; and MP Mary Ng (Markham-Thornhill).

The Ontario government announced its approval for the project in late July and site preparation work began immediately for the new campus, which will offer up to 4,200 students in the first phase a range of professionally relevant degree programs and micro-credentials.

“I have been with this project since my councillor days,” Kanapathi said. “I am very happy to see this vision of the brand new Markham Centre Campus finally come to life. It will ensure the residents of Markham and York Region have increased access to a state-of-the-art education, right in their own backyard.”

York Region is projected to have the highest growth rate in Ontario in the 18-22-year-old population, increasing by 34 per cent by 2041, so Markham Centre Campus will offer students a university education close to home with work integrated learning opportunities in their communities.

“The York University Markham Centre Campus will be York Region’s first public university and complements Markham’s highly skilled, highly educated and diverse workforce,” Scarpitti said. “It will provide students with the necessary education, skills and training they need for the jobs of the future, and will provide them with workplace-based learning opportunities while they study in collaboration with local information and communication technology (ICT) companies. This will strengthen our position as a hub for innovation, while driving the prosperity of the Province, York Region and the City of Markham.” 

The 10-storey, 400,000 square foot campus building, which will be located near the corner of Enterprise Boulevard and Rivis Road in Markham, was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects. Construction manager on the project is Stuart Olson Ltd. The built form will be a five-storey podium with a five-storey tower above, clad in bronze-anodized aluminum, with welcoming and flexible indoor spaces and a Campus Green for outdoor gatherings.

Milestones during construction include the following:

  • The enabling works − excavation, piles and shoring – begin immediately.
  • Construction of the building’s foundation and superstructure starts in December of 2021.
  • The building will be closed in during the spring of 2022.
  • Completion and move-in is scheduled for August 2023.

York University introduced a comprehensive Social Procurement Policy in January to reflect its values of equity, inclusivity and social justice by ensuring that projects such as the Markham Centre Campus support local economic and social development. The university is inviting organizations to register as a Diverse Vendor or Social Enterprise to supply goods and services for the construction of the new campus.

Photo: York University president Rhonda Lenton is joined by local dignitaries at the Markham Campus groundbreaking ceremony.


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