UAA will not renew Chugiak-Eagle River Campus’ lease

Budget cuts, program losses and campus closures are all issues the university is facing at the moment. A few decisions regarding these topics have already been made as university officials look toward the future of UAA.

UAA’s Chugiak-Eagle River Campus’, or CERC, lease will not be renewed, beginning in the fall semester of the 2019-2020 school year. The reasoning behind this decision is primarily to save money in anticipation of proposed UA budget cuts.

Photo by Malia Barto.

“A lot of this is not anything to do with the quality of our education,” Kim Griffis, director of CERC, said. “It’s really boiling down to what the budget climate is right now.”

Chancellor Cathy Sandeen’s letter, addressed to UAA staff, faculty and students, is posted on CERC’s website. After announcing the decision to not renew CERC’s lease in the letter, she wrote, “Understandably, you may be concerned about what the course offerings will be and where those classes will occur. We are working through the details of this change and will share updates with you as we have them. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to a smooth transition.”

The closure announcement has not settled well with some students. Morgan Berns, social work major and Eagle River resident, is disappointed to hear about the decision.

“Between work, helping out family and everything in between, I really relied on CERC,” Berns said. “…Without the [Eagle River] campus, I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to graduate when I planned because I can’t constantly be in Anchorage.”

The Alaska Middle College School, the program shared between UAA and the Anchorage School District, or ASD, that offers college courses to high schoolers for dual credit is also affected by the closure.

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AMCS’ first home was the Eagle River building, but now all of its classes are being permanently transitioned to Anchorage’s main campus. All classes at CERC were moved temporarily to the main campus after the Nov. 30 earthquake caused damage to the Eagle River Road building. CERC even received some new upgrades to the damaged rooms, including new electronic equipment and flooring after the earthquake; they reopened exclusively for night classes this spring semester, while day classes remained on main campus.

So, what’s next for all the students who take classes, or were planning to, at CERC?

The university is now working toward offering night classes at an ASD school starting in the fall, most likely Chugiak High School or Eagle River High School, but details and confirmation are still in progress.

“The population in the morning is really around the [AMCS] and the evenings are for the more non-traditional student who normally are working in the day and are trying to complete course work in the evening, so I think we’ll be able to serve that [non-traditional student] population because we will still have classes, it will just be at a different location,” Griffis said.

Summer 2019 courses in the CERC building will still occur.