GCU continues its expansion in the west Valley

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- There is both criticism and praise, as Grand Canyon University continues its expansion in the west Valley.

Last month, GCU welcomed its largest freshman class ever: 5,500 students. Enrollment is at 11,000 students now. And the school wants to hit 25,000 in the next five years. But to get that big, that fast, GCU needs space. And some people living in the school's path believe they're getting rolled over.

GCU has been buying up land in the surrounding area. And as more students move in, some say that   more low-income folks, like those living in the former Quatros complex near 35th Avenue and Missouri, are being forced out.

The townhomes rented for anywhere from $450-$750 a month. But recently, signs went up, advising tenants that they had 30 days to leave.

3TV brought you a similar story earlier this summer. Back in June, tenants living at Colter Meadows apartment complex near 29th Avenue and Camelback Road were notified that their complex was under new ownership and their leases would not be renewed.

About 15 to 20 tenants with 30-day leases were notified that those leases would not be renewed and that they would have to move out by the end of June.

But not everyone sees the situation as a land grab by a for-profit university. They see it as progress.

"Them being there was actually pretty good, tearing down the Quatros. That's where we had the most drug activity," says Rebecca Bandera. She says GCU has been a better neighbor than the criminals who she says used to run around the streets.

"There are hardly any more helicopters coming to the side for police involvement," she says.

"We're concerned about it because a lot of these folks don't have anywhere else to go. And if you give them some money, it'll help for a little while but it's not going to change their situation," says one concerned resident.

GCU is also planning to expand in the east Valley. But the school is delaying a planned campus in Mesa to focus on the expansion in central Phoenix.

A meeting is set for Tuesday evening to discuss the expansion.

September 2, 2014 6:00 p.m.
5115 N 27th Ave.
Lecture Hall of GCU
3300 W. Camelback Road
Phoenix