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Seneca College Newnham Expanding with Perkins+Will Design

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As one of Canada’s largest college campuses, Seneca College’s Newnham campus, located on Finch Avenue East at Highway 404, plays host to a student population that now numbers 29,500 (with 12,500 full time and 17,000 part time students). With the student population continuing to grow, the demand for new facilities has also risen.

In response, an application for a Site Plan Approval has been submitted to the City of Toronto to allow a 5-storey academic and administrative building fronting Finch. Designed by the internationally acclaimed architectural firm Perkins+Will, the Centre for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) will become Seneca’s newest hub for innovation and entrepreneurship activities. Additionally, the new facility will include an expansion of the Mechanical Engineering technology program, as well as the Mechatronics program.

Currently, the site for the proposed building is occupied by a large surface parking lot, with green space surrounding it on its west and south ends. The gross floor area is proposed to be 22,676 m2/244,082 ft2, while the height of the 5-storey building will be 18.6 m/61 ft, and will be set back from the Finch Avenue East lot line by over 19 m/65 ft.

Centre for Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, Toronto, by Seneca

Site Plan map, click for a closer view, image retrieved via submission to the City of Toronto

The frontage of the building will overlook a new urban plaza for students to enjoy, while architectural features include a colonnade and joined canopy. It’s all designed to create an urban environment which is currently lacking along Finch Avenue, and establish a new gateway into Newnham campus. The northwest corner of CITE will connect to the existing Building D, immediately north of the new building, via a new bridge.

Centre for Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, Toronto, by Seneca

Looking north onto the subject site, image via Google Maps.

During the pre-application consultation held on Thursday, August 25, 2016, one of the focus points of the discussion concerned the distance between the proposed building and the Finch Avenue frontage. Commentary from City Staff noted that the proposed building should be built closer to the Avenue’s frontage, effectively aiming to create a more urban built environment along Finch.  While the application is consistent with the existing zoning on the site, moving the building closer to Finch could lead to a Minor Variance application, and could run the risk of not meeting the set deadlines in the funding agreement.

Centre for Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship, Toronto, by Seneca

North and south building elevations, click for a closer view, image retrieved via submission to the City of Toronto

The funding for this project will come from both the Provincial and Federal governments, in the amount of $27.3 million, as well as from Seneca College. Per the funding agreement, the CITE building is targeted to open in September, 2018, leaving relatively tight deadlines for City approvals and construction.

To learn more about the project, make sure to check out our dataBase file, linked below. Want to leave your thoughts on this project? Feel free to comment in the space provided on this page, or join in on our associated Forum thread.

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