History Happens Here: CAC leased land near Cactus Canyon

(File photo)

(Photo by Arianna Grainey, Independent Newspapers)

History oftentimes is forgotten as time passes. This weekly series will feature old photographs from the Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent’s archives, held up in the exact place that they were originally taken, in the style of Dear Photograph.

This week’s image ran in the Nov. 5-11, 1986, edition on page 7.

The original caption reads: “COSTLY CAMPUS: Central Arizona College has been leasing 40 acres at the corner of Southern Avenue and San Marcos Drive for its Apache Junction Campus.”

According to the article that accompanied the photograph, CAC wanted to lease 123 acres but was only able to lease 40 acres. It was recommended by the Board of Community Colleges that the campus be more than 100 acres.

The article said that leasing the additional 83 acres would cost the district another $18,000 for a total annual lease payment of $26,000.

CAC ultimately abandoned the lease in favor of it’s current location, 805 S. Idaho Road.

“From 1985-1987 CAC held classes for students from the east valley at the Grand Hotel which housed an administrative office and four classrooms,” CAC marketing director Angela Askey provided in an e-mail.

Prior to 1985, classes were held at Apache Junction High School in portable classrooms, starting in 1982.

In 1986, there were more than 800 students attending the Apache Junction campus. Of those 215 were full-time students.

“The 2016-17 headcount at the Superstition Mountain Campus was 1,228 students,” Ms. Askey said in an e-mail.

In the coming years the CAC campus grew from one building.

“During the summer of 1987 the Superstition Mountain Campus opened at its current location and by 1992 an additional 28.5 acres were purchased to expand the growing campus from one building to four buildings,” Ms. Askey said.

Chris Wodka, the chief financial officer of CAC, said they had to work with the city to get the current location ready for building.

“We had to do a lot of improvements where we worked with the city of AJ in terms of utility development,” he said. “We had to dig out a lot of the roads over there. We had to put in the sewer system and water lines and all of that.”

That brought the grand total for construction to approximately $26 million, he said.

City Public Information Officer Al Bravo said the land is now state controlled.

Want to help with this project? If you have any old photographs that would be interesting to recreate in this way, e-mail them to agrainey@newszap.com for consideration. Include any information that you have about the photo subject and content. Are you on Instagram? Follow this project on Instagram @history_happens_ here_az.

Arianna Grainey is a freelance photojournalist.

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