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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