A concentrate on conservation following the closure of Johnson & Wales College in Denver
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DENVER – Johnson & Wales University is no longer in Denver. The university is taking a different strategic path. Last summer, the university announced it would cease operations in Denver after the 2020-21 school year, and Urban Land Conservancy, Denver Public Schools, and the Denver Housing Authority recently purchased the land.
The university will be operating in Providence, RI. continue
The 25 hectare site includes 13 buildings. Its history dates back 100 years when it was Colorado Women’s College. It became JWU 20 years ago.
University alum Cody Dunston was surprised to hear the news of the closure.
“Your first thought is whether it will be demolished or if it will be apartments,” said Dunston. “It would be nice to see if they could see much of the history of this place.”
It looks like that is exactly what happened.
“We see this as real conservation,” said Aaron Maripol, CEO of Urban Land Conservancy. “This is not about a renovation.”
Upon completion of this transaction, DPS owns the west side of the campus and plans to expand the Denver School of the Arts (DSA) and use the campus as a community arts center. The expansion will allow the DSA to accommodate 500 to 700 additional students over time, with an emphasis on equal opportunities and the inclusion of low-income and black students. The west campus includes the Wildcat Center, Whatley Chapel, Academic Center, and Aspen Hall.
DHA bought the southern portion of the campus, which includes Triangolo Hall and Gaebe Hall, and two former dorm buildings, with the aim of expanding affordable housing options in the community.
ULC is the new owner of the east side of the campus and holds the land on a 99-year long lease that maintains its affordability and commitment to community-based uses over the long term.
This is a direction former Denver JWU president Rich Wiscott had always hoped for.
“They shared a lot of the same values that we have,” explained Wiscott. “We knew they would be the perfect campus administrators when the campus entered the next phase.”