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Peoria campus progressing with lease proposal

The university partnered with a campus located in Peoria, Ariz., and are still moving forward with high hopes of a digital media arts program.

Photo shows what the entrance to the Arizona campus could look like. (Photo provided by Jeff Berggren)
Photo shows what the entrance to the Arizona campus could look like. (Photo provided by Jeff Berggren)

The university is still moving forward with a campus located in Peoria, Ariz., focusing on a digital media arts program.

President Sherilyn Emberton, Ed.D., said they are working on a proposal for Arizona.

“We’re working on a proposal,” she said. “We’ve had great feedback from [the city] on the proposal but that will be a deciding factor if that is approved and goes through.”

Emberton said the university is trying to secure a lease when it comes to the financial terms.

“We’ve had a round of conversation about that,” she said. “We were not able to walk away with something that works for both parties, so we will be having a second round of conversation on that.”

Jeff Berggren, former vice president of enrollment management and marketing, now living near Peoria, presented a proposal to the city council, the mayor and other officials about the possibility of digital media arts being the lead program in Peoria.

“I gave them an overview of the university, our process of exploring the campus in Peoria, the process of how DMA came to be our lead program, that factors about why we think that is a good decision,” he said, “and then described our DMA program to them in more detail.”

After the presentation, the city council voted to keep discussing the possibility of an economic development agreement.

“The vote was unanimously positive, as was the verbal feedback from council members,” Berggren said. “So our next step with the city is to submit a formal proposal to the

city for their consideration, a portion of which will include a formal request for funding to partially support the launch of the campus.”

There has been “marked interest” in the DMA branch campus from both high school administrators and students, he said.

“Peoria happens to have a very robust media program as part of the curriculum for their seven traditional high schools with 1,000 students projected to be involved in the media program next year,” he said.

Over 15,000 seniors will graduate with media experience in high school, something the university could capitalize on, Berggren said.

“We had an unsolicited and very strong statement of support from the youth representative on the council who attends a high school in Peoria, and his friends are heavily involved in the media program,” Berggren said. “In essence, he thought many of his media friends would love to be a part of what Huntington University is doing with digital media arts here [Peoria].”

The university is interested in eventually adding other programs such as the areas of nursing, sports medicine, social work, education and ministry.

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