By Jacqueline Quynh

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver School of the Arts will soon have two campuses. Denver Public Schools has purchased half of the buildings on the Johnson & Wales University campus in the city’s Park Hill neighborhood for $30 million.

“It’s fun to see they’re taking a whole new leap into expanding the school’s campus,” a student said.

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Seniors at the Denver School of Arts think the move is an exciting one.  

“It’s a beautiful building, but we’re still 20 years old,” Victoria Brown, science teacher said.

Teachers like Brown are also looking forward to the change. DPS is buying four buildings; the Wildcat Center, Academic Center, Aspen Hall along with the chapel. 

“What we’re seeing is it costs about 40% less on a per-student basis to add these seats than in some of the new buildings we’ve done historically,” Jim Carpenter, DPS Chief Financial Officer explained.

DPS told CBS4 $30 million was fair market pricing, if not a deal for the buildings which they say are in excellent condition.

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“It gives us more opportunities for programming. (We get to consider) how do we expand what we already have?” DSA Principal Anthony McWright said.

The school currently has about 1,100 students enrolled, with a long waiting list.

“This is really an opportunity to pursue our equity agenda,” Carpenter added.

With the expansion, there’s hope it will help to address the issue of bringing in more students of color, and those who come from low income backgrounds.

“I hope this can develop into something that other art schools aspire to be,” McWright added.

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Not out of the question is also to split the school, potentially one campus for high school students and middle school students. It will take some time to get the new campus online; the first class is expected to be welcomed in 2022.

Jacqueline Quynh