Guest / Limited Access /
After Winning Free Campus, Grand Canyon University Says 'No Thanks'
After Winning Free Campus, Grand Canyon University Says 'No Thanks'

Five weeks after accepting a free, 217-acre campus in western Massachusetts, a for-profit Christian university has walked away from the gift.

Grand Canyon University (GCU) of Phoenix, Ariz. faced millions in unanticipated costs as it moved to open its first East Coast campus in Northfield, Mass., according to president Brian Mueller. So rather than complete a property transfer from the billionaire Green family of Oklahoma, GCU decided to dissolve the deal.

"We were willing to make a $150 million investment, but we really had trouble with the city of Northfield," Mueller said. "Northfield was concerned that growing the campus to 5,000 students would alter the basic culture and the basic feel of the area."

The surprise development marks the second time in less than a year that plans to give away the free, newly renovated campus have collapsed.

The Greens, who bought the property in 2009 with plans to give it to a Christian institution, initially offered it to the C.S. Lewis Foundationto launch a C.S. Lewis College on the site. But fundraising efforts for the college fell short last year. In January, the Greens began soliciting new proposals, and in September named GCU the recipient.

The other finalist to receive the campus was the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board, which later withdrew.

But GCU got little local cooperation, Mueller said. Not only would the town not help cover $30 million in sewer and road upgrades, but it also reportedly called on GCU to conduct an environmental impact study at the university's expense.

"We were ending up having to cover the burden of all of that," Mueller said. "It started to get overwhelming."

As ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueDon’t Miss Steven Curtis Chapman’s Point
Subscriber Access Only
Don’t Miss Steven Curtis Chapman’s Point
Even his happiest, most heartwarming music has been fueled by tragedy and pain.
RecommendedUnder DeVos, the Real School Choice Christians Face
Under DeVos, the Real School Choice Christians Face
The future of public education will depend on the church.
TrendingWhy Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Why Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Regardless of court fight’s final outcome, fewer persecuted Christians will make it to America under president’s plan.
Editor's PickChallenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Challenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Black Southern Baptists weigh in on the issues around removing Sho Baraka’s album.
Christianity Today
After Winning Free Campus, Grand Canyon University Says 'No ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

October 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.