Grand Canyon U. Wins Free Christian Campus

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The Christian owners of a historic campus in western Massachusetts have chosen to give the property to Arizona's Grand Canyon University - free of charge.

The Christian school, which hopes to eventually host 5,000 students there, was chosen from more than 100 organizations that had expressed interest in the 217-acre campus located along the Connecticut River.

"We were very humbled, and at the same time it's going to be a big challenge" Dr. Brian Mueller, president of Grand Canyon University, said. 

"It's an opportunity, but also, it's going to be a big challenge. There's a lot of work to do" he added.

The campus was once the Northfield Mount Herman Prep School, which was founded by the 19th century evangelist D.L. Moody in 1879.

Since 2009, the Green family has owned it, along with the successful craft store chain Hobby Lobby.  The Greens later offered to give Northfield away to a group that would honor Moody's commitment to traditional Christian teachings.

They said Grand Canyon's financial strength, growth and vibrant Christian life made the school an easy choice and is what also made it a great fit.

"The idea of being able to bring somebody to this campus that would honor that tradition and be able to have an impact for this world with a Christian purpose was really what we were hoping to be able to do," Steve Green, Hobby Lobby's president, told CBN News.

"We're excited that we believe Grand Canyon University will be able to do that," he said.

The school expects to spend up to $150 million on infrastructure and other improvements in Northfield, with students arriving in 2014.

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