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GCU Drops Mesa Campus Plan – for Now

Grand Canyon officials in 2014 announced they were looking into the possibility of returning the school to non-profit status, but nothing has been finalized. Photo: Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic

By Maria Polletta for The Arizona Republic

Grand Canyon University has dropped plans to open a sizable satellite campus in southeast Mesa next fall, opting to concentrate on its Phoenix location as it attempts to overhaul its business model.

The university had been riding a wave of explosive enrollment growth in July 2013 when it announced the deal with Scottsdale-based developer DMB Associates to acquire 100-plus acres in Mesa’s Eastmark. The mixed-use community near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Arizona State University Polytechnic and major freeways beat out three other sites in Mesa and Gilbert to land the branch campus.

Speculation about the viability of a $150M east-side investment began percolating last summer, though, after GCU officials announced they would push back the Mesa campus’ opening by at least a year to address main-campus needs.

Soon after, the for-profit university began work on a still-pending proposal to revert to a non-profit model.

GCU spokesman Bob Romantic said via e-mail the university would “revisit the possibility of adding a satellite campus in the East Valley in the future” but had to focus on meeting the needs of its primary campus near 35th Avenue and Camelback Road “for the next two years at least.”

And with its own student union, library, fitness center, dining hall, classrooms and laboratories, the campus could have eventually attracted a projected 7,500 to 10,000 students, according to GCU. The developer also envisioned new grocery stores, restaurants, medical offices and other services opening to support students.

Read more at The Arizona Republic

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