DPS looks to expand School of the Arts as part of Johnson & Wales sale

Centennial Hall, one of 13 buildings on the Johnson & Wales campus, dates to 1886 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. (Courtesy of Johnson & Wales)

Denver Public Schools wants to use the soon-to-close Denver campus of Johnson & Wales University.

The school system is looking to expand Denver School of the Arts, the system’s magnet school for sixth to 12th graders at 7111 Montview Blvd. in South Park Hill located across the street from the university campus.

The school’s current enrollment is 1,100, and it has exceeded its intended 900-student capacity since 2003, according to a presentation shared with BusinessDen by a DPS spokeswoman. Five hundred students are turned away annually.

Use of the campus would allow the school to add enrollment and increase course offerings, according to the presentation. The system said the campus could begin hosting its students in August 2022.

Providence, Rhode Island-based Johnson & Wales announced last June that it would close its campuses in Denver and North Miami, Florida, in the summer of 2021. The move will leave the private nonprofit institution with two campuses, in Providence and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Denver-based nonprofit Urban Land Conservancy is currently under contract to purchase the 25-acre Denver campus, which has 13 buildings on it.

Provided that deal comes to fruition, Denver Housing Authority has agreed to pay ULC $9.5 million for a portion of the campus. DHA wants to potentially use existing dorm space, as well as construct new residential buildings.

Asked about the structure of the deal, and specifically what portion of the campus DPS wants to use, a spokeswoman said more specifics will be discussed at a school board work session on May 6. The board is expected to vote on the matter May 20.

Centennial Hall, one of 13 buildings on the Johnson & Wales campus, dates…

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