The University of Saskatchewan owns about 1,800 acres of land in the centre of the city. Most of it is used for agricultural research.

But now things are about to change.

The U of S is setting aside more than half of its land for residential and commercial development, most of it north of Circle Drive and south of College Drive.

Greg Fowler, with the university, says the school will lease the land, giving itself a steady stream of new revenue in the tens of millions of dollars.

β€œThe economic value of the land is of interest to us to support our teaching and research mission, so it's something that benefits both the university and it also benefits the city in terms of residential and commercial development right within the city core."

Preliminary planning shows high-density housing. There could be up to 60,000 units, on the land. Allan Wallace, with the City of Saskatoon says this much land in the center of the city is a rare opportunity for infill housing.

"Today with the emphasis on trying to control growth and sprawl, it makes sense to look inside the city and see what kinds of opportunities there are inside circle drive and this is a big one."

To be successful, the university has to make sure development is phased in appropriately to both fit the city's plans for growth and make sure its own agriculture programs aren't disrupted. The city also has to make sure the roads, water, and sewer systems can handle more people.

So the landscape of the city center will be changing, but that familiar field in the middle of it all should remain untouched for at least the next couple of decades.