Thursday, May 23, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Thanks to a dedicated group of teachers and stakeholders, the financially troubled Art Institute of Las Vegas is finding a way to continue operating. To stay open, the private university — which offers degrees in arts, fashion and culinary fields — is working to separate from indebted parent company Dream Center Education Holdings.
A group of local Art Institute teachers has teamed up with local businessman Richard Rock to create Save Las Vegas LLC, which would own and operate the college independently.
The court-appointed receiver for Dream Center, Mark Dottore, has been working to save the school.
“We have been working diligently since the Art Institute of Las Vegas entered into federal receivership, to secure a path forward for the school,” Dottore said in a written statement. “An agreement was reached, in principle, for the acquisition of the institution by ‘Save the Art Institute of Las Vegas Limited.’ We continue to work with that entity as well as with the court, the U.S. Department of Education, regulators and accreditors to ensure a future for the school.”
But when a federal judge decided to end the receivership prematurely, it seemed like time might run out for the effort. The judge had set a deadline of May 31, at which point the school would be slushed off to federal bankruptcy court, according to EducationDive.com.
Perhaps thanks to their stalwart efforts, to group trying save the school has been granted a little more time. According to Lisa Mayo-DeRiso, an Art Institute instructor and member of Save Las Vegas LLC, on Monday a magistrate judge granted the school 10 extra days to “take steps to ensure the orderly transfer of the Art Institute of Las Vegas, to Save Las Vegas LLC.”
But will this be enough to save the school?
Mayo feels confident that the transfer can happen in the new time frame. And she says that her group is on track to raise the needed funds to acquire and run the school.
“We have Title IV money, so to operate the school, we need no extra invested money in the short run. Plus we have over $2 million in school assets,” she said via email. “We are going to seek investment capital from $2 to $5 million for needed upgrades in equipment for culinary, video, film, sound and other programs.”
In the meantime, students at the Art Institute will continue learning.
“Our school is operational; we hold classes every day,” adjunct professor William Turbay said in a statement released by Save Las Vegas LLC. “We are scheduling our June graduations and planning the Summer Quarter program.”