Originally created 07/08/06

University of Phoenix campus is almost ready



In a little more than a month, Richmond County will be home to a new university.

The University of Phoenix is nearing completion of a campus on Perimeter Parkway near the Augusta Towers Hotel and Conference Center. Officials also must receive approval from the U.S. Department of Education before opening.

The need and demand are there for the university, said Shane Clem, University of Phoenix vice president-director of Georgia campuses. Research is conducted to determine what employers need before deciding to start a campus.

"We also look at students who attend our online campus from all the areas of the market that we serve, Augusta certainly being one of them, and it shows a fair amount of students who live or work in that ZIP code in that area attend our online campus," he said. "So, we felt like it would make sense also to open up a campus in that city."

The roughly 20,000-square-foot facility will feature 13 classrooms, along with administrative offices.

"The capacity for 13 classes is somewhere in the capacity of 800-plus students, which I'm confident that we will probably reach very quickly," Mr. Clem said, adding that the campus will offer virtual classes that won't require classroom space.

The University of Phoenix specializes in educating students who are older than traditional college students and work full time.

The degree programs are "accelerated, yet not abbreviated," enabling students to earn a quality education in a flexible and convenient setting, Mr. Clem said. Also, instructors "work in a field they teach in."

Joe Cockrell, a spokesman for the University of Phoenix, said the Augusta location will offer the same degree programs as its other campuses. That includes bachelor of science degrees in business, health administration, information technology and nursing.

Mr. Clem said the campus isn't ready to accept students yet, but when it is, university officials will make the public aware.

The University of Phoenix has 191 campuses and learning centers in 39 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Netherlands and Mexico.

There are already campuses in Georgia, but until the Augusta campus opens, the closest sites are in Savannah and Columbia. There are also Georgia locations in Columbus and Atlanta.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

BY THE NUMBERS


13: Number of classrooms


800: Number of students the campus can accommodate


20,000: Square feet of the campus building




Source: University of Phoenix