Grand canyon university inching closer to possible mesa or

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Grand Canyon University inching closer to possible Mesa or Gilbert campus - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

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Grand Canyon University inching closer to possible Mesa or Gilbert campus

Location decision expected within 30 to 60 days

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Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:14 pm

By Aaron Rop, Special to Tribune | 0 com m ents

For Valley residents driving along the Santan Loop 202 freeway -- s pecifically thos e heading eas tbound toward Chandler and Gilbert -- there's a large billboard that comes into view approaching the Loop 101 interchange.

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"Phoenix is now a DI College town," it s ays , referencing Grand Canyon University's rise to NCAA Division I status this upcoming school year.

Photo courtesy

Grand Canyon University

But what som e of those drivers -- m any of them presum ably East Valley residents -- m ay not know is that they could have an opportunity to join the team .

Drivers heading eastbound on the Santan Loop 202 freeway may notice this billboard, situated between Interstate 10 and the Loop 101, referencing Grand Canyon University's move to NCAA Division I status for athletics this fall. Grand Canyon officials say they're close to deciding on a spot for a sattelite campus, likely in either Mesa or Gilbert. [Photo courtesy ]

Phoenix-based GCU was hoping to start construction this sum m er on an Eas t Valley s atellite cam pus to open in the fall, but the univers ity had to delay plans and is hoping to reach a decision in the next 30 to 60 days .

Right now the focus is on Mesa and Gilbert for a new location, and "there isn't a need to rush" said William Jenkins, vice president for the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at GCU.

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The current goal for the university is to open one building in 2015 and open a new building about every two years to match enrollment.

Jenkins said enrollm ent is the m ain determ inate of how quickly the proces s will take, but GCU is looking at completing the project in 4-5 years with four new buildings total.

GCU is already in the m iddle of renovating its 115 acre m ain cam pus ' s tudent union building and two of its student dorm itories . By com paris on, Arizona State Univers ity's Tem pe cam pus is about 700 acres .

"We currently have 6,500 students attending our Phoenix cam pus, and our goal is to grow this cam pus to 15,000 students by the fall of 2015," s aid president and CEO Brian Mueller in the univers ity's 2012 annual report.

Jenkins said GCU is hoping that a potential East Valley cam pus will add an additional 5,000-7,000 students.

The project was announced at the end of 2012 and other cities in Arizona were considered, as well as locales outside Arizona like Albuquerque, NM and Las Vegas.

Instead of accelerating growth for its Phoenix cam pus or online program , which is about 85 percent of enrollm ent according to GCU's annual report, Jenkins s aid university leaders hip wanted to take a look at other opportunities for student growth.

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Grand Canyon University inching closer to possible Mesa or Gilbert campus - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

"More students want to commute than live on campus."

Keith Blanchard, deputy director for the Arizona State Board for Private Pos ts econdary Education, s aid the board hasn't received an application from GCU to add a new cam pus, but that it will likely receive one for approval when a location is decided.

According to the Maricopa Com m unity Colleges trans fer s tudent data for the 2011-2012 academ ic year, there were 3,676 undergraduates who transferred 12 or m ore credits from a Maricopa Com m unity College to GCU.

Lim se Thor, coordinator of enrollm ent services at Mesa Com m unity College, said he thinks if GCU were to choose Mesa as a new campus location it would be a plus for MCC.

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Thor said MCC has a great partnership with ASU already, but it is developing stronger relations with other universities to transfer students. ASU having to com pete a little harder for MCC's students is the only potential fallout he can foresee if GCU were to plant a campus.

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"They'll do what they can to get our students after fres hm an, sophom ore year," Thor s aid. He added students willing to transfer could make themselves more marketable for scholarships.

Skip Derra, m edia relations officer for ASU, said at ASU, "we see ourselves as a com pletely different institution (than GCU)."

Cathy Chlars on, director of m arketing, PR and com m unications for Chandler-Gilbert Com m unity College, provided statistics showing that in spring 2012, there were 20 CGCC students from fall 2011 that attended GCU between Jan. 1 and the end of May that s am e year. In com parison, there were 624 CGCC trans fers to ASU in that same time period.

Chlarson said if GCU were to choose the Gilbert and Chandler area, it would be a positive for the community and CGCC's students becaus e they would have m ore opportunity.

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GCU was founded in 1949 as a non-profit liberal arts college, and was purchas ed by inves tors in Feb. 2004 and turned into a for-profit, private Christian university.

As of Dec. 31, 2012 it had approxim ately 52,300 enrolled s tudents acros s all platform s .

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Aaron, a senior studying journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Com m unication, is an intern for the East Valley Tribune. Contact him at (480) 898-6514 or tribintern@ .

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Posted in Education, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Local, Tempe, Queen creek, Apache junction on Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:14 pm. | Tags: Geography Of Arizona, North Central Association Of Colleges And Schools, Education, Arizona, Grand Canyon University, Gilbert Campus, Chandler, Gcu, Chandler Gilbert Community College,

Arizona State University, Maricopa County Community College District, Arizona State Route 202, Phoenix Arizona, Mesa Arizona, William Jenkins, Mesa Community College, East Valley, Phoenix, Gilbert,

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