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Work to start this year on York University's Markham campus
Feb. 9, 2016
By Amanda Persico

York University’s Markham campus is taking shape.

The end goal is a “living, breathing campus,” said Bud Purves, president of York University Development Corporation - the development branch of the university.

But there are still many steps ahead of the proposed 2020 open.

Purves provided a road map for what lies ahead during a recent Markham university committee meeting.

The university is currently testing the soil, looking at the area water table and conducting a traffic study of the five-acre property on the south side of Enterprise Boulevard, just west of the Markham Pan Am Centre.

All this will help determine the best location for the building at the site, Purves added.

The university is also exploring the option of a building a site office in Markham in the fall.

“York (University) wants to have a presence in Markham prior to opening,” he said. “We’re not going to build a building, then open the doors and say, ‘We’re here.’”

The site office would be an extension of the current Innovation Centre, which is the commercialization and industry liaison office for York University.

The Markham office could also house the Markham campus design team and be a place the community can turn to find out what’s happening, Purves said.

It’s also a nod to the province that York University is serious about its Markham campus.

“This is our toe in the water,” he said. “This is our way to tell the province we’re here, we’re now and we’re in business.”

The university met with Infrastructure Ontario and made a submission to the Ontario Treasury Board, Purves said.

“We’re hoping the province will give a us a financial nod in the 2016 budget to start the structure,” he said.

The university is waiting to see if the new facility will be a separate line item in the province’s budget, due out next month, or if it will be grouped with other colleges and universities.

After a budget announcement, at the end of March, the university plans to start the designing process in April.

The first phase of the project will see about 1,000 students per year, over four years, studying at the new campus.

Phase two would see an additional 2,000 students. More than 9,000 students are expected in the third phase.

The balance between classroom and dorm rooms has yet to be decided, Purves said.

“We know a lot of students want to live at home to support their parents or to work, but we don’t know that number.”

The Markham campus was selected over other municipalities that made a pitch to York last spring, including Richmond Hill, Vaughan, King Township, East Gwillimbury and a combined pitch from Newmarket and Aurora.

For more information on York University’s Markham campus, visit