Santa Fe University of Art & Design's interim president Maria Puzziferro and chair of its board of directors, Susan Fairbairn, announced today via joint letter that the troubled school would indeed close sometime next May following the 2017-2018 academic year. This confirms rumors that had swirled throughout Santa Fe since SFR broke
last month that a proposed buyout from Singapore-based corporation Raffles had fallen through.
The letter goes on to say teachers will kept on as needed as the university winds down classes through a "thoughtful, phased teach-out," and that assistance will be provided to "students who...still have more than 36 credit hours to complete their degrees in transferring out of the University."
"This was a very difficult decision," the letter reads. "As always, the steadfast commitment to our students' academic success remains our top priority."
The letter explains that students may take advantage of formal transfer arrangements with other institutions including the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design in Denver, among others. More teacher phase out and student transfer information can be found
Puzziferro acknowledges the announcement comes at a bad time. Students, she says, "are disappointed and pensive. A lot of them are tying to figure out what comes next." Still, she says the university was in a difficult position and the administration tried everything they could. "We were in an agreement with Raffles and that was not terminated until March 29," she says. "We were all diligently and in good faith working toward the closing of that agreement."
City spokesman Matt Ross spoke to SFR via email, saying, "The mayor a couple of weeks ago asked Councilor Lindell and Councilor Harris, who have long backgrounds in real estate and development, to conduct a review of the property and lead the effort to consider our options for the property." Ross also described the university as a "tenant in good standing."
The city took out a $29.6 million loan to purchase the SFUAD campus and pay for maintenance shortly after the College of Santa Fe closed in 2009. They've since sold roughly 30 acres and are currently in the process of reappraising the remaining land. The city can't immediately repay the loan without incurring substantial penalties from its lender. SFUAD issues quarterly payments to the city worth about $557,500. City spokesman Matt Ross said around lunchtime that he had not heard about the announcement.