Grand Canyon University has selected DMB’s newest community, Eastmark in Mesa, for its new East Valley location. GCU will have the right to purchase 100 acres at Eastmark to develop its second university campus, with an option to add up to 60 adjacent acres in the coming years for expansion.
Nearly a year ago, GCU began a search for a site for its second campus to meet the growing demands for its unique model of higher education in the East Valley. Its immersive process to understand the population and development growth pattern, as well as the transportation opportunities and the vision for regional development, brought them to Eastmark.
“In selecting the Eastmark site, we were especially impressed with the integrated community concept DMB is creating,” said Brian Mueller, president and CEO of GCU. “This environment will give our students, faculty and staff an exciting place to learn, work and play while being an integral part of the East Valley community. We believe our presence will benefit the entire region by providing the option of a low-cost, high-quality Christian education to all its residents.”
Eastmark’s team is currently planning the community’s first mixed-use neighborhood center at the northeast corner of Ellsworth and Ray roads to complement the residential development and the planned university campus.
“We are thrilled to be the future home of GCU, its faculty, students and staff. Having residential and commuter students at Eastmark every day will add vibrancy to our community. DMB communities feature a focus on lifelong learning, and GCU’s unique model for post-secondary education will bring a wealth of learning opportunities to Eastmark and to all of the East Valley,” said Charley Freericks, president of DMB.
“The East Valley, and specifically Mesa’s Gateway area, is emerging as a destination for high-quality higher education. We are honored to welcome GCU to Mesa, Arizona’s newest college town. We are looking forward to showcasing their university to potential students from around the region and the globe,” said Mesa Mayor Scott Smith. The City of Mesa recently launched the “Mesa Educates U” marketing campaign to promote Mesa as a premier destination for higher education.
GCU plans to purchase up to 160 acres located east of Ellsworth and Point 22 Boulevard within Eastmark The campus will have prime visibility from Ellsworth Road and will have immediate access to a future phase of the Eastmark Great Park.
GCU is currently planning on a seven-year build-out of the campus that will include offices and administration space, classrooms, labs, library, student union, student dorms, recreational fields and parking. Construction of the campus is anticipated to commence in 2014, with a potential opening date as early as 2015, subject to appropriate legal and regulatory approvals.
GCU’s team will have space in Eastmark’s Visitors and Community Center (The “Mark”), in the coming year so prospective students and parents can learn more about the school and the new campus. GCU is also looking into leasing space in the area in order to begin offering classes in the fall of 2014. Those students would then transfer to the new campus when it opens in 2015.