Polaris, the north star, is the brightest star in the northern circumpolar constellation of Ursa Minor and a navigational way finder in the night sky.
The people who will bring it to life through teaching, learning and the creation of new knowledge will serve as beacons for our society for generations to come.
The new science building at Yukon University will serve to incubate and mark the future for Canada’s first university north of the 60th parallel.
The purpose and vision
  • Cultivate an interplay between Yukon First Nation culture and ways of knowing, and the western approaches to learning and knowledge generation.
  • Become a place to learn, to teach, and to create knowledge in new and transformative ways.
  • Open minds and spark new approaches to understanding complex issues relevant to the North.
Brings people together through: connecting the community; reconciliation and Indigenization; exposure to northern research; efficiency, flexibility, and future-proofing; building as a teaching tool; collaboration and sharing resources; net-zero; and serving the north.

Milestones

Design
May 2022 to March 2023
Construction tender
March to May 2023
Construction
Spring 2023 to Fall 2025
Completion
Fall 2025
The Design

Upon the recommendation of the Polaris Project Steering Committee, the YukonU Board of Governors has chosen a design for the new science building.

The core of the design is the notion of a river, a nod to the Yukon River, which is tightly woven into the social and economic fabric of the territory.

Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design and engineering, was awarded the $2.3 million contract to design the science building in June. Design decisions were informed by engagement sessions held by Stantec across the summer with First Nations partners, students, staff and senior leadership.

Illustration of the river flow concept of the Polaris floor plan

The design:

  • Contains four classrooms and a lecture hall, research labs, a ceremony room and a large social space for events and gatherings.
  • Leverages optimal sharing of lab and class space, led by function rather than discipline.
  • Weaves reconciliation and decolonization into the design and architecture, respecting First Nations culture, environment, and ancestors.
  • Will register for Zero-Carbon Standard Certification. This certification will signify annual energy cost savings between $20,000 to $33,000 per year and annual emission savings between 8,900-14,100 kg CO2 per year, or 445,000-705,000 kg CO2 over a 50-year period.
Exterior view of the Polaris project building concept

The anticipated 2700m2 facility will be housed at Ayamdigut campus on the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta'an Kwäch’än Council.

The new building will be located beside the existing main campus building within the current footprint of Yukon Place. It will be the first building people see as they climb the hill to Ayamdigut campus.

For more information about Polaris, please contact Project Director, Martin Turpin.

Map showing the location of the Polaris project in relation to existing campus buildings