Ottawa University's presence in the Valley dates back to the 1970s.
But its latest expansion is in the heart of development in Chandler.
|Ottawa University campus in Chandler|
Last month, the Kansas-based university marked the grand opening of its newest campus. Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn joined the board of trustees and other university and community leaders during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Ottawa University has a focus on providing a private, liberal arts education to adult learners. About 300 students are enrolled in the current eight-week term at the Chandler campus, and another 1,000 students are enrolled at the Phoenix campus.
Allan Hoffman, the campus executive officer, said the demographics in Chandler, the growth and the surrounding businesses made the location at the Chandler Airpark ideal.
The university quickly developed a partnership with neighbor Chandler-Gilbert Community College. While Ottawa offers classes in the evenings to adults, as well as online, the community college may use available classrooms during the day, Hoffman said.
Hoffman expects it won't be long before Chandler is serving as many students as the Phoenix campus. Ottawa has seen a 12 percent increase in enrollment over the last year in Arizona, he said, and an 85 percent growth in enrollment across all the Ottawa campuses and online.
"We're continuing to do what we do best: provide education for adult learners," he said.
Chris Mackay, economic development director for Chandler, said the addition of Ottawa in Chandler adds to the educational offerings for the city's workforce.
"I think what it does is give so many of our employees - those within Chandler - an opportunity to continue their education in the evening, to go after that master's, to get their bachelor's degree to change fields. Especially in this challenging economy maybe they can step into another arena," Mackay said.
Hoffman agrees with the need for higher education and the critical thinking skills Ottawa tries to instill in its students.
"That's what the workforce demands and the world demands," he said.
Ottawa has about 20 classrooms in its 20,000 square feet of space. The Phoenix and Chandler campuses together have about 85 faculty members and another 200 adjunct faculty members.
The university signed a 10-year lease on the Chandler building.
"We're here to stay," Hoffman said.