Huntington University's expansion outside the state is forging ahead. The Peoria, Arizona city council has approved a development agreement for a proposed campus. Plans for the additional location were first announced in 2012.
Trine University in Angola opened its own campus in the Arizona city last year. Both schools announced plans to locate campuses in Peoria in 2012. At that time, Trine's goal was to have more than 1,200 students enrolled at the Peoria campus by its third year.
The city has been pursuing college campus locations since 2010 as part of its long-term Economic Development Implementation Strategy.
Huntington trustees first approved the school's proposal in 2013. HU plans to begin Digital Media Arts courses in Arizona in the 2016-2017 academic year. Broadcast-fusion media, film production and graphic design programs are set to be offered initially, with digital animation and web development courses coming to Peoria the following year.
University officials say the area around the city near Phoenix is "an underserved marketplace" due to "minimal" nearby higher education options.
The affirmative vote for the economic development agreement sets in motion the school's financial development and student recruitment efforts.
Jeff Berggren is a former senior vice president for enrollment management and marketing at HU and has led the collaboration efforts between the school and the city. In a statement, he said "the unanimous vote by the Peoria City Council to approve the Economic Development Agreement was quite encouraging as was the show of support by city officials and residents in attendance who offered positive personal comments regarding HU and our digital media arts programs."