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Construction on York Region's first university to begin at end of year

'We consider this campus to be a York Region campus, even though it’s located in Markham'

The Town of Newmarket will be invited to participate on a soon-to-be created presidential advisory board for York University’s new Markham Centre Campus, set to open in fall 2021.

York University president and vice-chancellor Rhonda Lenton acknowledged that it’s time to create such a panel so that the interests of all York Region’s nine municipalities are represented.

“We’re trying to expand our research partnerships across the entire region,” Lenton said. “We consider this campus to be a York Region campus, even though it’s located in Markham.”

Lenton appeared mid-September at a council meeting to provide updates on the progress made so far on the region’s first university. The facility’s design has been approved and construction is scheduled to begin at the end of 2018. The campus can accept up to 4,500 students in the first year, with capacity to grow enrolment to 15,000.

“The projected growth of 18- to 21-year-olds in York Region is larger than any other municipality,” Lenton said.

The focus at the $253-million facility, located west of the Markham Pan Am Centre, near Highway 407 and Kennedy Road, is highly entrepreneurial in nature and includes a mix of 20 innovative, graduate and undergraduate programs that meet areas of high demand in York Region, such as information and communications technology, life sciences and health-care technology, business and financial services, and clean technology.

Seneca College will also offer diploma programs in areas such as social service worker-gerontology and computer programming. 

The campus itself features an airy, open-concept design, high-tech equipped classrooms, and common spaces where staff and students can congregate. There are sport and recreation facilities nearby, such as the YMCA, and students can take a 15 to 20-minute walk to downtown Unionville for a wide variety of food and retail shops.

Collaboration and partnerships with local organizations are key to York University's student success strategy, Lenton said.

A partnership with NewMakeIt is already underway. Newmarket’s sole collaborative co-working space offers entrepreneurs, innovators, visual artists, software engineers and more the opportunity to help each other be successful.

York University currently operates a similar community innovation hub in Markham, called YSpace. Students, alumni and entrepreneurs can collaborate and connect to services at the university and throughout York Region.

Here’s a by-the-numbers glance at York University Markham Centre Campus:

  • 7,743: Cost per year for a liberal arts degree, not including books and other supplies
  • 54,000: York University alumni who live in York Region
  • 1,600+: York Region employers who recruit from York U each year
  • 30: Active research collaborations in York Region, including projects with Southlake Regional Health Centre
  • 2,500: York U staff and faculty who live in York Region
  • 1,000: Estimated number of students in the first year
  • 400+: New on-campus jobs
  • 20: Degree programs in eight areas of study, including liberal arts, life sciences, IT and software, business, arts, media, performance and design, and more
  • 15: Transit routes serving the campus, including GO train, GO bus, VIVA, YRT and TTC
  • 106: Countries represented by York U students

To learn more about York University Markham Centre Campus, visit here.

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Kim Champion

About the Author: Kim Champion

Kim Champion is a veteran journalist and editor who covers Newmarket and issues that impact York Region.
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