LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A valley trade school will keep its doors open.
The Art Institute of Las Vegas planned to close at the end of March. Its parent company announced it would shut down 30 campuses nationwide.
On Friday, staff and students got word classes will continue. FOX5 got a copy of the email sent to everyone on campus, confirming the Art Institute will stay open and registration for next quarter will start in a couple of weeks.
Now, it’s just a matter of who will run the school.
“I’ve been through five years of my life trying to get this degree and I'm so close that I just don't want the end of the tunnel to be a train,” interior design student Billy Tompkins said.
So news of the Art Institute of Las Vegas closing was the last thing he wanted to hear.
Tompkins said he was just eight classes away from graduation.
“I just want to know what's going on,” he said. “Who's buying the school? Is it going to be the Art Institute? Is it going to be something else? What are we going to be doing because if I've got to start looking I've got to start now because I don't want to waste any more time.
Tompkins continued, "Honestly the best-case scenario is the Art Institute closes, reopens as another school and I just continue. My credits just transfer and I pick up where I left off like nothing happened, finish my eight classes, two more quarters, get my degree and put this whole thing behind me and be able to move on with my life.”
Tompkins was just about ready to give up when he got word the school will stay open.
“That is promising, that something good is happening,” he said.
But even under new operations, Tompkins said he worries if his financial aid will be honored.
“That's who I had my contract with -- the Art Institute -- to get a diploma, a bachelor's degree in interior design,” he said.
People who were laid off, including the school’s registrar, are set to return to work on Monday.
“Four to five very key people and of course professors, teachers, instructors, they're all going be there and probably 150-200 classes will be offered next quarter,” teacher William Turbay said.
But the school may not be called the Art Institute of Las Vegas anymore.
“My hope is that we don't become part of this large quagmire again of long distance ownership,” Turbay said. “If we're to name a new college, which we hope the students will assist us, we've got to include the name ‘college’ and ‘Vegas.’ I think it’ll be seamless.”
Staff told FOX5 around 50 students dropped out after the closure announcement.
“A lot of people dropped out because they were so devastated and it came so quickly,” Tompkins said. “We were told from the get-go, stay enrolled, keep coming to class.”
FOX5 spoke to the receiver handling this case, Mark Dottore. He said he sent a letter to the Nevada Department of Education reversing his decision to close the school. Dottore said there are two groups seriously interested in taking over.
Turbay has been behind the big local push to save the school. He said no matter who owns it or what it’s called, students should be able to apply their financial aid and credits.
“For example, a student is to graduate most recently from an AI, we can continue giving his degree from AI with permission from the receiver,” Turbay said.
Turbay is already putting together a committee and business plan to keep the school up and running.
“We will keep the school open for the sake of the students and hopefully it will be under local leadership, local control, local, local local,” he said. “There's nothing we can't do in Las Vegas. We can build a city in a desert, we can put a school together.”
Dottore, the receiver in Ohio, said he cannot reveal too much information about the second group interested in taking over the school. But, he said, it is a national charity that is planning to come to Vegas and tour the campus next week.