Art Institute’s Costly Saga Of Trying To Open In CT
Career College Central Summary:
The Art Institute of Connecticut (AIC), through its Pittsburgh, Pa., parent Education Management Corp., invested in cookware and appliances, desktop personal computers and wide-screen graphics workstations, phone sets, office furniture, a new elevator, wall art and other furnishings — expenditures estimated at more than $2.5 million. Much of it was brand new and apparently never used.
AIC and Education Management Corp. (EDMC), which operates 110 for-profit two- and four-year degree campuses nationwide, had intended their Putnam Park campus as a training ground for a new generation of culinary artisans, fashion, web and graphics designers, media animators and retail-trade pros.
But doors never opened to AIC's anticipated 400 students and 35 instructors and administrators, short-circuited by a shower of concerns from Connecticut higher-education regulators about shortcomings in EDMC's balance sheet, curriculum and student-loan default rates. Similar concerns already have prompted five states that host EDMC campuses to investigate its operations.
Also left to pick up the pieces in AIC's wake is the town of Wethersfield, which spent months reviewing the institute's classroom-office site plan, even waiving its building-signage standards to accommodate the employer and approving installation of a new elevator. Then there is Putnam Park's owner, who in recent years invested millions in upgrades to attract tenants only to lose one of its newest and biggest.
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THE HARTFORD BUSINESS JOURNAL