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Learning center expands to Pinellas
By SHARON BOND
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 2, 2000
ST. PETERSBURG -- The University of Phoenix opened a new learning center in Feather Sound last week, expanding the for-profit school physically into Pinellas County.
In 1997, the university opened a Tampa/St. Petersburg campus in Tampa, where it now has 1,100 students who are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees while they continue to work. Phoenix recently moved the main campus to larger quarters in Temple Terrace.
In Pinellas, the learning center occupies the first floor and part of the second floor of a new office building at 1901 Ulmerton Road.
"Every service provided to students on the main campus is provided here," said George Lucas, director of the Tampa/St. Petersburg operations.
The new center has 17 classrooms, two laboratories and a student resource center where access to computers and the Internet are available. About 200 students already are taking classes at the facility, bringing the university's bay area total enrollment to 1,300.
Classes meet from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. during the week, with others on Saturday mornings. The new center can accommodate 800 to 1,000 students.
Lucas said demand from the area was strong enough to open the new center. The University of Phoenix is for working adults who want either to increase their knowledge of their field of work or be trained for a new one. The school offers several different master's degrees in business administration and undergraduate degrees in e-business, nursing, health care management and technology, among others.
When Phoenix first arrived in the area, some made light of the for-profit school as the "lite" side of higher education. However, because of the professionals it has attracted, that reputation seems to have faded.
The school is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Its nursing programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. Its campuses in Florida are licensed by the State Board of Independent Colleges and Universities.
The University of Phoenix was founded in the 1970s and now has 80 campuses and learning centers across the United States and in several foreign countries. It also offers degree programs online.
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