AVONDALE, AZ-Universal Technical Institute president Kimberly J. McWaters and Avondale Mayor John Drake will be on hand Thursday when the UTI breaks ground on its new 25-acre campus at Pierce Street and 107th Avenue in Avondale.

The institute, one of the nation’s leading automotive technical education training companies, recently signed a 20-year lease on the Avondale property that will become the home of UTI’s Phoenix campus by mid-2004. The school, currently located at 3121 E. Weldon Ave., will pay a total of $50 million over the 20-year term to lease 238,000 sf of classroom and office space to accommodate up to 3,000 students and 200 staff members.

The building owner is a division of WP Carey & Co. of New York City. John Wyss and Steve Corney, managing principals in Phoenix for Dallas-based Staubach Co. handled the lease negotiations for the educational facility.

The institute has another campus in Phoenix at 2844 W. Deer Valley Rd. for its Motorcycle and Marine Mechanics Institutes along with campuses in Glendale Heights, IL; Houston; TX, and Rancho Cucamonga, CA. The school also operates a NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC.

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