On-Site Magazine

Construction to start on new $275.5M York University campus in Markham, Ont.

July 27, 2020   David Kennedy

The new campus in Markham, Ont. is scheduled to open in fall 2023. PHOTO: Diamond Schmitt Architects

Construction crews will get to work in the coming days on a major new university campus just north of Toronto.

York University, along with several tiers of government, announced July 24 it was moving into construction on a $275.5 million, 400,000 sq. ft. (37,160 square metre) facility in Markham, Ont.

The Markham Centre Campus will become the first university in fast-growing York Region, as well as the first to use the Ontario government’s updated Major Capacity Expansion Policy Framework, which aims to get the province off the hook for capital funding for college and university building projects.

The project comes two years after York’s original plan for a Markham campus, as well as two other schools’ expansion plans, was shelved by the Progressive Conservative government, which cited the province’s considerable deficit.

“Instead of the province writing multi-million-dollar cheques, we have developed a system that encourages the development of new campuses with a much smaller cost to the taxpayer,” Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, said in a release. “The new Markham Centre Campus is a model of responsible expansion, which will offer local students access to a world-class education and prepare them for the jobs of the future.”

The new site will expand the university’s footprint beyond its main campus at the northwest end of Toronto. York University, York region, as well as the City of Markham will foot the bill for construction of the new 10-storey campus. The province said it will provide funding to support operations once the facility is complete.

Diamond Schmitt Architects designed the new building, which consists of a five-storey podium with a five-storey tower above it. Among other features, the firm said the tower will include bronze-anodized aluminum cladding and fritted bird-friendly glazing. It is designed to house 4,200 students.

Stuart Olson Inc. is taking on construction of the building, located at, roughly, Highway 407 and Kennedy Road.

Construction is set to get underway this month and the campus is scheduled to open in time for the fall semester of 2023.


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