Seneca News

Rendered exterior of the Newnham Campus cafeteria created by Taylor Smyth Architects.

Jan. 30, 2020

From a modern, market-style food hall that will serve as a central gathering space to the new labs for the School of Hospitality & Tourism, several infrastructure projects at Newnham Campus are improving and expanding facilities to better support students and employees. In preparation for the final phase of Seneca2020 — the biggest series of moves in Seneca’s history — the following seven projects are well underway.

1. Cafeteria and kitchen renovation

When the cafeteria expansion is complete, there will be a variety of seating options intermixed with flexible food stations that focus on fresh and local foods, including stations for grill, pizza and pasta, salad and soups, Pho International and a café. The centralized checkout will be replaced with enhanced ordering technology for faster service.

The new food hall will double the size of the cafeteria. Built-in projector screens will be installed for use in a variety of campus events. A key element of the renovation project will be a new pedestrian street through the middle of the food hall, serving as a pathway to connect buildings A, B, C and D to E, F and G.

As renovations for the kitchen and food preparation area start this spring, the new food hall, which will also expand outdoors to a canopied courtyard, is expected to open partially in the fall.

2. School of Hospitality & Tourism

The School of Hospitality & Tourism, currently located at Markham Campus, is one of the last program areas to move as part of Seneca2020. In total, about 1,800 students, 100 faculty and four staff will relocate to Newnham Campus in April.

The new facilities for the school will include a hospitality lab with a commercial training kitchen, a simulated restaurant dining area that will double as a teaching space and a bar. The space, about 1,800 square feet and across from the Great Hall in Building A+, is expected to be ready in the spring.

The former mechatronics lab in Building B will be turned into a new flight experiential hub, including a fuselage of a Boeing 737 door trainer. This lab, about 2,600 square feet, will be a one-stop facility that will also include an Airbus A320, a mock cabin and a slide raft. The fuselage is scheduled to be installed in the summer.

3. New technologies

The video walls in the Great Hall in Building A+ were recently upgraded with two new cutting-edge displays that use a seamless LED technology. Each new wall measures just under 220 inches diagonally and provides a bright, high-contrast and high-quality image.

Over in the Centre for Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship (CITE), four 220-inch projector screens have been installed in the four-pack classrooms (K2000 to K2004). In addition to an event option for full display, a classroom option for a smaller display was added so faculty can display teaching material without blocking the whiteboard.

Other new technologies in the works include a camera technology with built-in artificial intelligence for audio and visual detection in meeting rooms on floors 4 and 5 of CITE. These meeting rooms will also be equipped with a state-of-the-art audio/video conferencing system, sensor technology/room-booking software and portable/virtual meeting device. An iLobby virtual assistant will allow visitors to self-check and notify the employee they are meeting with. Currently, two iLobby iPad Pros are installed on floors 8 and 9 of Markham Campus for pilot testing.

4. Parking improvements

A six-level parking structure is being constructed in Parking Lot 9. It will offer 1,155 parking spots, including 20 accessible spaces and 10 electrical vehicle charging stations.

The garage will feature 378,987 square feet of parking area with solar panels to be installed on Level 6. The solar panels will generate enough to power the garage and offset some of the energy used by the Residence building.

In addition to the parking structure, a total of 298 spots have been added to the hydro corridor parking area (lots 7 and 8) for students, employees and visitors, and 10 electrical vehicle charging spots (two Level 3, eight Level 2) have been installed in front of the maintenance garage next to the fire protection training building.

5. Centre for Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship (CITE)

Following the official grand opening of CITE in the fall, work is well underway on floors 4 and 5 in anticipation of the final move of Seneca2020 when all administrative areas at Markham Campus will move to Newnham Campus in the summer. Much of the overhead work has been done on Floor 4 as ductwork, electrical and bulkheads are in place and painting of the ceilings and bulkheads has begun. The raised floor installation will start in February.

As part of CITE’s environmentally sustainable design, 18 innovative photovoltaic glass panels — Canada’s first transparent solar curtain wall — were installed on Floor 2 last year. Recently, 438 solar panels were installed on the roof. The electricity produced by both the solar glass and panels is combined and connected to the building. The system, to be commissioned soon, will save about $17,000 a year on hydro bills. Power generated will be displayed on the digital displays in real time.

6. Donor wall

A donor wall to recognize individuals and organizations that have contributed to Seneca is being created in Building D before the pedestrian bridge to CITE (Building K).

The feature wall will celebrate Seneca donors, promote philanthropy and tell stories of Seneca, its alumni and students. The displays will be dynamic, providing the perfect backdrop for events being hosted in this area. The wall is expected to be complete this winter.

7. Landscaping

As part of a multi-year sustainable landscaping renovation at Newnham Campus, the primary goal of this initiative is to reduce Seneca’s carbon footprint, increase the attractiveness of the campus and reduce maintenance costs. Included in those plans are pollinator gardens, more perennials and native species, planting to help divert water from the sewer system and more naturalized spaces that require less mowing and weeding.

While some trees have been removed to make way for the cafeteria and CITE projects, more than 130 new trees are being planted around the area. The trees that were removed will be repurposed and used for seating in the ECE lab school and for Indigenous ceremonies at Odeyto.