It may not be a done deal yet, but things are looking good for Markham to host its first university campus. Although Seneca College has been a visible part of the Markham educational landscape for a while, it is looking to help expand post-secondary educational opportunities in Markham and York region by collaborating with York University in its search for a new campus.
Seneca already cooperates with York at its main campus and runs a number of programs from that site. After a competitive process, Markham Centre was selected as the preferred location in its bid to build a new university campus in York Region.
This decision means that York University’s process now enters the final stage to prepare a bid submission to the Ontario government in September.
“This site will allow us to serve the growing number of students in York Region,” said York University president and vice-chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri.
“It is located in the heart of a vibrant new urban centre, close to Ontario’s ‘Big Move’ transit investments, and adjacent to the Markham Pan Am Centre and other amenities for students. We look forward to working with York Region and the City of Markham to develop an outstanding proposal [to the Ontario government.]”
York Region is the only municipality of its size in North America with no university campus. But within five years of opening, York University aims to have 5,000 students in York Region. Within 20 years the campus can be expected to grow to 10,000-20,000 students. York University will offer its own programs and will partner with Seneca College to make an even broader range of programs available to students.
York University and Seneca College initially heard proposals from six York Region municipalities: East Gwillimbury, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, and a joint proposal from Aurora and Newmarket. Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan were then asked to participate in more detailed conversations.
“A fair evaluation process, open to all York Region municipalities, has been critical for us to select the one most aligned with York University’s vision for a new and innovative university campus in York Region,” added Shoukri. Each municipality was evaluated based on its ability to demonstrate alignment with a set of core principles.
“It is both exciting and satisfying to know York University is working with the Regional Municipality of York to establish a university campus in the City of Markham,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.
“York Regional Council is firmly behind this bid, as post-secondary education expansion is a primary goal of the Economic Development Action Plan approved by our Council. York Region is a destination of choice, and a new university campus will create educational opportunities for students, plus significant economic benefits across our entire Region.”
Once proposal bids are submitted to the province, a multi-ministry panel will review the applications and make final recommendations to Cabinet through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Cabinet will make the final decision about successful proposals.