BOSTON – Grand Canyon University – an Arizona-based Christian college – has backed out of a deal for a free 217-acre campus in Massachusetts, The Associated Press reported. The college cited millions of dollars in unanticipated costs that it said made an expensive project too risky.
Grand Canyon University informed the owners of the Northfield campus last week, five weeks after a ceremony in which it was named the recipient after an extensive search.
Steve Green, whose family owns the site and the Hobby Lobby craft-store chain, told the AP they will begin a new search soon.
The classic stone and brick campus in the hills along the Connecticut River was once home to the Northfield Mount Hermon School, founded by 19th-century evangelist Dwight L. Moody. The for-profit Grand Canyon University, based in Phoenix, planned to eventually attract 5,000 students there by offering a low-cost, private Christian education, the AP said.
The school’s president said further review had uncovered about $30 million in extra costs for building updates and infrastructure upgrades, in addition to the $150 million it planned to spend, he said. •