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UAA won’t renew lease at Eagle River campus

The University of Alaska Anchorage will not renew its lease in the Eagle Center building in Eagle River, according to an email sent by UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen on Friday. (Matt Tunseth / Chugiak-Eagle River Star)

The University of Alaska Anchorage is vacating its campus in Eagle River.

UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen sent an email to campus faculty and staff Friday saying the university is not renewing its lease in the Eagle Center building.

“... We have decided not to renew the lease on the existing Chugiak-Eagle River Campus building,” Sandeen wrote. “Spring and summer classes will continue as planned in the building, but beginning in fall 2019 UAA will offer classes in available Anchorage School District facilities in Eagle River.”

Sandeen said the university is working on “what course offerings will be and where those classes will occur” and referred inquiries to campus director Kim Griffis.

At a speech to the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce last month, Sandeen hinted the university could vacate the building as part of cost-saving measures.

“I can’t necessarily commit to that full building but we will have a presence in Chugiak-Eagle River," Sandeen said.

Students at Alaska Middle College School will continue to take classes in Anchorage. The school — a partnership between UAA and the Anchorage School District that allows high school students to take college courses — is also located in the Eagle Center building, but has been holding classes at UAA in Anchorage since the Eagle Center was damaged in the Nov. 30 earthquake.

That will be the case again next year, according to the Anchorage School District. ASD spokeswoman Catherine Esary said the district is committed to working with the university to continue offering the Alaska Middle College program to students next year at the main UAA campus in Anchorage.

“We are working in partnership with UAA to continue that presence on the main campus,” said Esary, who added that Alaska Middle College students who live in Chugiak-Eagle River will be bused to Anchorage.

UAA classes at the Eagle River campus were moved to Anchorage following the earthquake, though the Eagle River campus has since reopened. Day classes are still being held in Anchorage while evening and weekend classes are being held in Eagle River.

UAA PR and marketing manager Kirstin Olmstead echoed Esary’s comments and said the university is “committed to maintaining our presence in Eagle River.”

“We haven’t identified the specific facilities we are going to be in, but we are working with district officials on those details," she said.

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