Aurora College/Polytechnic University Campus Updates

Aurora College serves all residents from across the territory at each of its campuses, and each campus – Inuvik, Fort Smith, and Yellowknife – will continue to play an important role in delivering high quality post-secondary education to students.

As identified in the Facilities Master Plan (released September 2022), enhancements are proposed at each of the campuses to ensure they are meeting the needs of Aurora College students, creating an environment in which they can thrive. As overall planning for the establishment of a polytechnic university advances, plans for enhancements at campuses will be identified below.

We encourage you to check back for any changes or updates.


Thebacha Campus, Fort Smith


Thebacha Campus is the largest and longest-standing purpose-built campus of Aurora College. The established facilities have a strong and meaningful presence in the Town of Fort Smith, which will be both leveraged and enhanced through the transformation. The campus will remain the administrative centre for the polytechnic university and the immediate upgrades proposed for this campus will significantly augment the existing assets and elevate the quality of student experience.

One planned enhancement includes the disposal of Breynat Hall, formerly a residential school hostel. The functions currently housed in that building will be replaced in new, appropriate facilities. Future engagement about the use of this site will provide space for reflection on the history and future of both the site and the broader polytechnic university.


  • The GNWT has asked the federal government for $7.595 million that if received would go towards planning studies that would allow for future work on student housing such as Breynat Hall.  


Yellowknife North Slave Campus, Yellowknife


In this location, where there are no College-owned facilities as a foundation for the polytechnic university, the development of a new campus offers a blank slate for establishing and embodying the values of the transformed institution. A new Yellowknife campus for Aurora College is long overdue, as the existing facility is no longer sufficient for the current student population or for the expansion of the college to a polytechnic university.


  • May/June 2022: Tin Can Hill was identified as the ideal site for the Yellowknife North Slave campus and shared with the public.  A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Aurora College, the GNWT and City of Yellowknife. The MOU with the City of Yellowknife, College and GNWT was intended to indicate an interest in the land.  It is not a formal application for the transfer of land ownership from the City. Details on site selection can be found in the Facilities Master Plan. 
  • September 2022: Environmental Assessments are a normal step in the land transfer process. Phase 1 of an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was initiated by the GNWT on the Tin Can Hill site and planning is underway for phase 2. The GNWT will complete the environmental site assessment(s) and review the results before proceeding with the land transfer. An assessment of the results will be important in determining whether or not to proceed with the land transfer to ensure there are no future environmental liabilities.
  • March 2023: Phase 1 of an Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) complete. Full report can be found in the resources or by clicking here


Aurora Campus, Inuvik


The vision for Aurora Campus in Inuvik is to support increasingly active hubs for both education and research, in a centralized capacity for the Beaufort Delta Region. This plan focuses on activating the full potential of existing facilities by first improving the supportiveness and accessibility of the on-campus experience.


  • December 2022: Contract was awarded for enhancements to warehouse infrastructure will take place at the Western Arctic Research Centre (WARC). Warehouse enhancements will include a purpose-built steel warehouse containing an unheated space for long-term equipment storage, a heated loading bay and marshalling space to support field research programs, a heated garage, and a heated workshop.
  • February 2023: Piling work on site has begun.