As of July 24, 2020 the Ontario Government has approved York to proceed with building the Markham Centre Campus (MCC). The $275.5-million MCC will assist in driving economic growth and social development in the York Region and Ontario according to a statement issued on YFile in July.
Concept photo of York’s Markham building. (Courtesy of YFile)
York’s President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton released a statement regarding the new campus:
The Markham Centre Campus will offer professionally relevant degree programs and micro-credentials with a strong focus on digital technologies, entrepreneurship and experiential education in high demand areas such as business and entrepreneurship, data analytics, new media and communications.”
It’s an exciting opportunity to explore new intersections among the arts and technology.
Deputy Spokesperson for York Yanni Dagonas explains York has had a persisting presence in Markham through community engagements such as YSpace and IBM Innovation Space—Markham Convergence Centre.
“The University introduced academic programming in Markham for the first time last fall, with classes at the IBM Canada headquarters. This is a good time to build on York’s presence in Markham because projections show that there will be a 34 per cent increase in the 18- to 22-year-old population in York Region by the year 2041. This is the highest growth rate in Ontario, and the new campus will enable students in York Region to study close to home,” Dagonas says.
Dagonas also mentions that the new campus will present further learning opportunities, including “a wide range of degree programming, focusing on digital technologies, entrepreneurship, new media and communications, in response to the emerging labour market needs of York Region and Ontario. That region has many technology employers, which will offer students workplace-based learning opportunities while they study and local job prospects when they graduate,” Dagonas adds.
The MCC is expected to accommodate up to 4,200 students, and is expected to be ready for Fall 2023. It is also projected that due to the location of the MCC in York Region, the campus is expected to potentially create 15,000 jobs annually through 2030.
I do think that both students and faculty have expressed concerns in their own existing campuses that are being neglected due to funds and attention being allocated to the Markham campus.
Professor Sarah Bay-Cheng, dean of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) says she is excited about the progression of the new campus. “Prior to the pandemic, I was able to spend some time exploring Markham and connecting with the community there, including the Markham Arts Council and their amazing youth volunteers. There are some really exciting creative opportunities in the region”, she says.
The Markham Centre Campus is an exciting opportunity to explore new intersections among the arts and technology, while working collaboratively alongside our other programs at York and with community partners in Markham and beyond. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Bay-Cheng continues.
Though not all members of the community agree with the decision to move forward with the campus.
“While I recognize the importance and usefulness of a third university campus in helping the university accomplish its aim and objectives, we know that budgets and allocation of resources are explicit declarations of an institution’s priorities,” Bo Joseph, a fourth-year communications student at Glendon, says.
Natalia Morales Caceres, a third-year film production student from the Keele campus appears to echo these sentiments.
I think that though a Markham campus helps York expand their reach when it comes to accessing students, I do think that both students and faculty have expressed concerns in their own existing campuses that are being neglected due to funds and attention being allocated to the Markham campus,” Morales Caceres says.
“It seems what the university is saying with its choices around the Markham campus is that it would rather prioritize the creation of new projects rather than look towards improving what it currently has,” Joseph adds.