York gets a super new building – thanks to SuperBuild


Above, left to right: Ernie Eves, Schulich dean Dezsö Horváth, Dianne Cunningham, David Tsubouchi and Lorna R. Marsden on a site walkabout

All around there was mud, gravel and heavy machinery – and at the centre was the ever-dapper premier of Ontario, carrying big news for his alma mater.

At a news conference yesterday at York on the construction site of the new Schulich School of Business, Premier Ernie Eves announced that his government will give $23.4 million from the province’s SuperBuild fund towards a new General Academic Building at the university. The 250,000-square-foot structure, projected to cost $70 million, will provide 3,175 student spaces, 34 lecture halls and classrooms and 53 laboratories.

Slated to be built between the new Schulich School on Ian Macdonald Boulevard and the Centre for Film and Theatre, the new building will be cross-functional and cross-faculty. Targeted completion date is Spring 2005.

“We are very pleased that this important project will be supported by the government,” said York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden at the news conference, “and we wish to thank the premier and Dianne Cunningham, minister of training, colleges and universities, who have recognized York’s students, our potential and our need. This new building will provide crucial teaching and research space necessary to support York’s growth in the coming years.”


Above, left to right: Tina Molinari, David Tsubouchi, Ernie Eves, Dianne Cunningham and Lorna R. Marsden

The General Academic Building is the third York project to get SuperBuild funding. The new Schulich building received $30.5 million and the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) building $46.99 million through the first round of SuperBuild funding in February 2000. Together, those two structures will provide 6,000 new student spaces on the York campus by September.

Right: Site manager Mike Loma (left) and Ernie Eves

York’s expansion was clear to the visiting Eves, who attended his last year of Osgoode Hall Law School on the campus in 1969-70. “There are a few more buildings since I was here,” he said. “In fact, it’s hardly recognizable.”

The news conference also provided Eves with the opportunity to announce $180 million in new SuperBuild funding for post-secondary projects province-wide. In total, these projects will create 21,484 new student spaces at four colleges and nine universities. SuperBuild is the government’s program to renew and expand highways, hospitals, universities, colleges and other key facilities.

Stressing the government’s commitment to post-secondary education, Eves told his York audience he had recently learned that admission standards have barely changed in the face of student growth and the double cohort. He said he could dispel the concerns of anyone who thinks “you’re going to need 97 per cent to get in.”

Cunningham echoed that message at the news conference. “One of our greatest priorities was to prepare for the double cohort,” she said. “With this year’s budget commitments, we will increase funding to universities and colleges by $443 million more than three years ago, so they can hire the best and brightest new faculty and provide space for those students.”