GCU plans to nearly double Phoenix campus to 400 acres

Phoenix Business Journal
By: Angela Gonzales

Grand Canyon University is spending $200 million this year on new classrooms and residential housing – but it’s still not enough to keep up with growth.

Brian Mueller, CEO of Grand Canyon Education Inc. (Nasdaq: LOPE), which operates GCU in Phoenix, told attendees of the Phoenix Business Journal’s Inside the Reporter’s Notebook interview today that he plans to grow the 240-acre campus to 400 acres.

“It’ll be a $2 billion business,” he said.

Plans call for buying property and apartment complexes surrounding the campus so that eventually the GCU campus will sprawl from 35th Avenue on the west, Missouri Avenue on the north, 27th Avenue on the east and Camelback Avenue on the south.

When he left a top position at Apollo Group Inc.(Nasdaq: APOL) in 2008 to take the small, private Christian college public, the school was on the verge of bankruptcy. By 2010, the campus had 900 students on 100 acres. This fall, the 240-acre campus will have 15,000 students.

Construction crews can’t build dorms fast enough to keep up with the number of students who want to live on campus, he said.

In four years, he expects the campus to grow to 25,000 students, with another 90,000 students online.

“We’re really not able to keep up with the growth right now, which is a good thing,” he said.