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CLINTON TOWNSHIP, MI-The University of Phoenix, the nation’s largest university, is looking for a new Macomb County campus site, either here or in Sterling Heights, officials say. The Phoenix-based school was founded in 1976 and has campuses in 33 states, Puerto Rico and British Columbia.

At the end of May, 213,074 students were enrolled in its programs–more than five times the number of the next largest private university.

Ted Blashak, the university’s vice president for Michigan campuses, says he expects to look at five possible sites for a Macomb County campus by month’s end, and hopes to have a lease deal in place by the end of the year. If new construction or an addition to an existing building is needed, classes might not start at the new location until mid-2005, he adds. “In the last nine months to a year, we’ve really seen (an increase) in the interest of people who want to attend the University of Phoenix in Macomb County,” Blashak says.

Currently, the university is setting its sights on a facility that could house offices and at least 10 classrooms, officials say. The university gears itself toward working adults who want to complete their degrees on non-traditional terms, often taking some coursework online.

The University of Phoenix offers some Macomb County courses at the Best Western Sterling Inn on Van Dyke in Sterling Heights. The university also offers classes at five locations in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor.

The University of Phoenix has considered leasing space at Macomb Community College’s University Center on Garfield near Hall Road in Clinton Township. But the University Center, which has shared space agreements with 10 different colleges and universities, does not currently have space available.

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