Ontario government supports York University campus renewal

A grant of more than $18.5 million from the Government of Ontario will help ensure York University’s facilities are better equipped for cutting-edge research and today’s teaching needs.

York West MPP Mario Sergio was all smiles on Friday when he came to York bearing not one, but two cheques, which he presented to York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. The presentation took place in the laboratory of Professor Jim Whiteway, Canada Research Chair in space science, located on the fourth-floor of the Petrie Science & Engineering Building. 

“The announcement we are making today is part of $200 million in provincial funding to help Ontario universities renew their campuses and improve the learning environment for students,” said Sergio. “The $18.5-million plus in funding will assist York in improving buildings, upgrading equipment and  increasing energy efficiency. 

Above: From left, York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri thanks York West MPP Mario Sergio. Sergio visited York’s Keele campus on Friday to present the University with two cheques, one to support campus and facility renewal, the other to fund the Ontario EcoSchools initiative.

“Ontario universities, especially York, have experienced an unprecedented growth in enrolment over the last few years and the Province of Ontario is committed to providing the best learning environment for our students,” said Sergio. “Students are our future and by investing in them we are also investing in Ontario’s future.” 

“I thank you personally for coming to York University," said Shourkri. "We are very grateful for this funding from the Government of Ontario. Every day we see evidence of the Government of Ontario’s support of postsecondary education and the understanding of the important role postsecondary education plays in the economic and social development of our society.

“This funding is vital to York’s future as we work with the government on a long-term plan for renewal that addresses both projected enrolment growth as well as critical teaching and research needs,” said Shoukri. “The Ontario government’s support of campus renewal projects will benefit York students with more modern classrooms, labs and other learning spaces.” 

A delighted Sergio then presented Shoukri with a second cheque for $500,000 to support Ontario EcoSchools programming. The environmental education program, overseen by York University, aims to influence young people in public schools across Ontario during a formative period of life, and encourage students to take a culture of conservation home with them.

Left: Following the cheque presentation ceremony, space science Professor Jim Whiteway (centre) explained the principle behind LIDAR technology – which uses laser light pulses to precisely measure distances and diagnose components of the atmosphere – to York West MPP Mario Sergio (right), while York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri (left) looks on. The LIDAR technology will play a key role in NASA’s Phoenix Mission to Mars, scheduled to land on Mars next month.

The funds will be used to revise curriculum-linked teaching resources, provide outreach activities and offer EcoSchools certification for those teaching ecological literacy. It will also help conserve energy, minimize waste and green the grounds.  

“York is truly committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility through education,” said Shoukri. “EcoSchools is another way for York to lead the way in efficiency and conservation.”  

The Government of Ontario has designated $200 million for campus renewal across the province. These investments are in addition to January’s commitment of $135 million for campus renewal, and are 12 times the annual contribution of the $26.7 million universities ordinarily receive through the Facilities Renewal Program.