Here’s the latest on the historic Johnson and Wales University campus in South Park Hill

For one, it has a new name.
2 min. read
Johnson and Wales University, South Park Hill. June 25, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The former Johnson and Wales University campus is coming back to life even though the school quit enrolling students in June 2020.

A year ago, the nonprofit affordable housing developer the Urban Land Conservancy, Denver Public Schools and the Denver Housing Authority purchased the South Park Hill institution to create a hub of education, economic development and affordable housing in partnership with various community groups.

The site finally has a new name: the Mosaic Community Campus.

Over the past six months, community members submitted 110 ideas for names to a committee of 14 people.

"When we were considering the final list of potential names presented by the Renaming Committee, 'Mosaic' stood out as the clear front runner," explained Aaron Martinez, the vice president of operations and sustainability for the Urban Land Conservancy and the head of the newly formed Campus Owners' Assocation. "It perfectly embodies the campus goals of providing an accessible community hub for quality education, economic development, and affordable living opportunities for people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, and ethnicities."

What's happening on the campus?

The kindergarten through eighth-grade Episcopalian private school, St. Elizabeth's, has a lease-to-own contract with the Urban Land Conservancy. The school is renovating the Centennial Hall building and started having classes in the 2021-2022 school year, while constructing a playground.

The nonprofit small business incubator Kitchen Network is also leasing space in the Culinary Building and Vail Hall. The group is using 13 kitchens in partnership with hundreds of food service groups, restaurants and catering companies.

What's next?

In the years to come, Denver Housing Authority and Archway Communities will be converting six dorms into income-restricted housing for individuals and families.

Nearby Denver School of the Arts will also open space on the Mosaic Campus, as the school expands to include more students.

Over the summer, the arts nonprofit PlatteForum will design a public art structure on the campus quad. The artwork, created with community members, will be revealed at a block party in September.

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