A vision for a shared campus between Glendale Community College and Deer Valley High School laid the groundwork for the GCC North Campus, at 5727 W. Happy Valley Road.
Twenty years later the mission has evolved and the campus is thriving.
In the early 2000’s, Deer Valley High School, 18424 N. 51st Ave., and GCC collaborated on a plan to bring college level classes to high school students. The location was selected and the buildings that now serve as the Aqua Sal (A complex) were erected.
While the dual enrollment program that drove the initiative is now taught 100 percent at the high schools, GCC North has expanded its role to provide classes and services to the surrounding community. Leadership from the Maricopa Community Colleges District and Glendale Community College determined that the current and projected growth in the area justified the creation of another campus, so a multi phased master plan was developed.
Each of the buildings at GCC North is named after arroyos located in the northern part of Arizona: Aqua Sal, Beshbito, Chinle, Dinnebito and El Capitan. In 2000, the Aqua Sal complex, consisting of modular classrooms, welcomed its first students to the North Campus. The rest of the Phase I buildings were completed between 2006 and 2008 and house the library, computer commons, fitness center, enrollment center, function space, classrooms and offices.
Once the rest of the phases are complete, the campus will have buildings on both sides of the wash that bisects the campus.
“We wanted to keep the wash as pristine as possible,” said Chuck Jeffery, GCC academic dean who played an instrumental role in the vision, design and construction of GCC North. “Instead of altering the natural landscape we decided to build around it with the wash serving as the center point of campus. Eventually bridges will span the wash, connecting the north and south buildings.”
The master plan for GCC North Campus calls for multiple construction phases. Phase I was completed with the build-out of the Dinnebito building in 2008.
Dr. Lorelei Carvajal recently took the helm at GCC North.
“Serving the community is one of our core values,” GCC’s senior associate vice president said. “We are very fortunate to be located in such a vibrant community, and my goal is to expand our offerings so we can better meet the needs of the residents and businesses who are our neighbors.”
Ms. Carvajal added that GCC North has been providing drive-thru COVID testing since the beginning of September, and the Chinle Building is an official voting location.
“There are endless opportunities to serve the community and exploring all possibilities is a priority,” she said. “We really have a blank canvas and I am excited to work with the local schools, our neighbors and surrounding businesses to make sure that this campus is serving their needs.”
Editor’s note: John Heckenlaible is Glendale Community College’s public information officer.