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Havasu campus to open in August, Payson campus at a standstill

The ASU campus in Lake Havasu City is scheduled to open for the fall 2012 semester, but plans for a Payson campus have stalled.

The Havasu campus, originally a vacant 70,000-square-foot junior high school building, will have 60-70 students in its first year of operation. The campus will host undergraduate programs in communications, psychology, life sciences, organization leadership and general studies.

The building will be leased to ASU at no cost for five years, but rent will increase after the five-year period to $225,000 per year.

University Planner Richard Stanley said tuition is set at $6,000 per year, approximately 35 percent less than what students pay to attend the main campus.

He said having a lower tuition rate as well as offering a campus in the Lake Havasu City area will benefit families who could not have afforded to send their child to ASU, UA and NAU campus locations.

"It provides an opportunity for a full ASU four-year education to be available to students who may not be able to, because of family or other circumstances, get away and come to Phoenix or Tempe," Stanley said. "It's a way of getting a degree at a lower tuition cost."

Though the Lake Havasu City campus is well on its way to full utilization, the plans for a 6,000-student Payson campus remain in negotiation and have not developed significantly. Discussion between ASU and Payson officials about building a campus in Payson began in late 2010.

Stanley said meetings have been scheduled with Payson officials in August to finish resolving financial issues and come to an official agreement about the campus.

Payson officials declined to comment on the campus negotiations.

Stanley said he was excited to get the Lake Havasu City campus open on schedule.

Lake Havasu City Mayor Mark Nexsen said many new businesses have sprung up in anticipation of the college student population.

Nexsen said he hopes to see the campus bring more jobs to the area.

He said the campus' affordability is an asset to the Lake Havasu City community.

"High school graduates will ... save money on room and board to go to a four-year university because they can stay at their parents' home," Nexsen said. "It's an affordable solution for students in Mojave County."

He said the new campus will attract a lot of southern California students in addition to local students because of the large amount of homes owned by summer and winter visitors in the area.

"We're really thrilled to see this project come to completion," Nexsen said.

Donna Brister, who is running for a city council position in Lake Havasu City, co-owns Wired Coffee, a gourmet coffee shop located a couple blocks away from the new campus.

Brister said having an ASU campus in the area was a milestone for the ever-growing town.

"We're so excited to see that our children who have been raised here will also be educated here," Brister said. "We're excited about the growth it will bring. It's dynamic for our whole town."

Brister said she's also excited to see a new demographic of college students shop at the city's small businesses, including Wired Coffee.

"(College students) are going to love being able to come to the shop, relax and hang out," Brister said.


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