Delaware art school plans expansion

Delaware College of Art and Design in Wilmington is starting a $4.2 million expansion of student housing and campus services, with some help from a city loan.

The school will take over the Brandywine Suites Hotel on North King Street to complement The Saville on Market Street, which currently houses students in addition to some other leased living space downtown.  “The expansion is perfect for our needs,” said Delaware College of Art and Design’s (DCAD) Stuart Baron.  “We’ll be able to bring our students into one location and provide additional services to our students.”

The expansion announcement comes following the largest influx of residential students in school history.  In the fall of 2011, 198 of DCAD’s 254 students requested on-campus housing.

To help make the expansion possible, the city is providing the school with a $500,000 capital budget loan.  “DCAD’s staff, students and their families provide a lot of energy and excitement that have added to our city’s overall arts, cultural and entertainment scene in recent years,” said Wilmington Mayor James Baker (D).  If the school meets certain deadlines to finish the project, the $500,000 loan will become a grant that the school will not have to repay.

The school purchased the hotel during a Sheriff’s Sale in November.  Buccini/Pollin Group will do the renovations of the building to turn it into student housing.  There will be 49 rooms to accommodate 95 students when the construction is done.  The remodel will also include new offices and meeting spaces, along with a dining area.  That will enable the school to do something it’s never been able to do before: offer a student meal plan.

The school was founded in 1997 with just 50 students, and remains Delaware’s only professional art and design school.  Currently, more than 240 full-time degree students attend the school with about 500 continuing education students per year.

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