Grand Canyon University announced on July 31 it will delay its Mesa campus by a year in order to focus resources on expanding the Phoenix location.
When built, the campus will be part of the Eastmark development in the Gateway area. The initial announcement was made in 2013, when the school tendered plans for a 100-plus-acre campus and possible 60-acre expansion.
What GCU is planning to build in the meantime are several residence halls, two classroom buildings, a parking garage and the groundwork for an engineering facility.
“The student demand for what we’re doing here on the Phoenix campus is so great, investing those funds here is the most expeditious use of our capital expenditure money right now,” said Brian Mueller, president and CEO of Grand Canyon University.
GCU spokesperson Bob Romantic said the other major reason for the delay of the East Valley campus is the focus on science, technology, electronics and mathematics (STEM) the university intends to have at this campus, which will require more capital expenditure for laboratories and classrooms.
While the city of Mesa’s Higher Education Initiative has brought several other college campuses to the city in recent years, GCU’s involvement has been wholly organic, a cooperation between the school and DMB and Associates, the developer of Eastmark.
“We remain committed to the East Valley and still plan to build out a large campus that will be STEM-oriented. More and more East Valley families are recognizing the tremendous value our degree programs carry,” said Mueller.
In an email, Mesa spokesperson Kim Lofgreen there has not been much involvement on the city’s part, adding; “The city is willing to help. Currently, no arrangements have been discussed.”
Founded in 1949, GCU is a regionally accredited private, Christian school with just over 8,000 students.
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