It's been a waiting game as a committee headed by new Gila County Provost Barbara Ganz meets with several community college districts in hopes of finding a new partner in time to offer a fall semester.
Ganz, former assistant dean in charge of the Payson campus, is now in charge of the Globe campus and the Hayden/Winkelman and San Carlos education centers as well as Payson. She is optimistic that the doors of the Gila County campuses will reopen in August.
"I am very confident we will have a fall semester," Ganz said.
Other members of her committee are Steve Besich, county administrator, John Nelson, county finance director, and Lionel "Marty" Martinez, assistant to Ron Christensen.
While Ganz indicated there is a front-runner among the districts that want to affiliate with the new entity known as Gila County Community College programs, she declined to identify it. The Roundup has learned that both Pima County and Maricopa County districts have had representatives on the Payson campus recently. Central Arizona, which is Pinal County, is also rumored to be in the running.
Meanwhile the Payson campus has new phone numbers after going several days without a phone. The main number is 468-8039. The new website is www.gilacc.org.
The Small Business Development Center, headed by Judy Miller, also can be reached at the main number.
Ganz said students concerned about financial aid should call or visit the Payson campus to obtain the new code numbers that need to be put on applications.
"We have placement testing scheduled for August and we're helping students get ready for advisement, so we're making all the preparations for everyone to be ready to go right after a contract is signed," Ganz said.
Gila County parted ways with EAC earlier this month when the board of supervisors voted unanimously July 1 not to approve a new one-year contract. The county and EAC have been at odds over a new contract for the upcoming school year for several months.
Gila County had been contracting with EAC, which is located in Graham County, to operate the Payson and Globe campuses because it does not meet state requirements to form a regular community college district of its own. The move ended a 34-year relationship between the two entities.
The county has title to both the Payson and Globe campuses.