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A plan to sell one of the largest pieces of downtown Rapid City real estate is still in the works as National American University officials continue to negotiate with a potential buyer.

University officials announced in November that NAU was selling its downtown property and planning to build a new facility in Rapid City this year.

Officials have been mum about who might purchase the property or where the new building would be located. Officials with the county, city, Rapid City Area Schools and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology all have said they are not in negotiations with the university to purchase the property.

Ron Shape, NAU’s chief executive officer, said Monday that plans are moving forward, although at a slower pace than some may have anticipated.

“All the parties are very much interested, and it’s going to take a while to put all the pieces together,” he said.

Since the announcement two months ago, little has been said about the changes, or if the university would be able to build, move and open a new facility in time for classes this fall.

Shape said no set deadline has been set for the move. Ideally, the university would lease a newly built building from another company, he said.

He hopes the sale and move will happen this year.

“2011 would be nice yes; that does have potential,” Shape said.

Once the property sale closes, a quick turnaround might not be an issue if the Sioux Falls NAU campus is any indication, said Rapid City campus executive officer John Quinn.

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The Sioux Falls campus moved to a new 22,500-square-foot facility in November 2010.

“The goal is still to be on a new campus some time in 2011,” Quinn said. “Of course, there are no certainties.”

The university has been at its 321 Kansas City St. location for more than 40 years and changes in delivery methods and programming have left some classrooms and spaces unused or under-utilized, Quinn said.

The new facility will consolidate the programs and classes now spread out over the current 68,000-square-foot building space.

The Rapid City campus is one of 25 in nine states around the nation.

Contact Kayla Gahagan at 394-8410 or Kayla.gahagan@rapidcityjournal.com

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