With an ever-increasing student population — attracted to the school’s manageable class sizes and interactive curriculum — Antioch University found itself in need of more elbow room. And while administrators spent the last few months looking for a more spacious home, the small college appears to have finally settled on a new location for its campus.
Antioch University, confirmed a school spokesperson yesterday, is moving to Anacota Plaza in downtown Santa Barbara, on the corner of Cota and Anacapa streets. It’s currently located at 801 Garden Street. The spokesperson — who seemed slightly upset that word got out before Antioch itself could make the announcement — would not release any more details about the move, explaining they’d be provided during the February 26 inauguration ceremony for new school president Dr. Nancy Leffert.
Tom Parker, president of the Hutton Parker Foundation, which bought the building for $11.5 million, explained to The Independent that his organization heard Antioch needed a bigger space and stepped in to help. The Hutton Parker Foundation, he said, often uses its assets to buy buildings that are then occupied by area nonprofits who pay a low, fixed rent. That money, Parker went on, then goes back into the community as grants for other nonprofits. In the case of Antioch, the school and the foundation came to a rent agreement that made financial sense for both parties, Parker explained. The school will have the option of buying the property in five years and again in ten years.
Arch Rock Fish, which occupies the bottom corner of the building, will remain where it is. But all of the other month-to-month tenants — including California State Senator Tony Strickland — will have to move their offices elsewhere, said Parker. The building’s third-story apartments won’t be touched. While the school will start its moving process immediately, the work will be spread out over the next six months. Antioch will reportedly gain an extra 8,000 square feet of space in its new home, and classes will continue as normal during the move.
Antioch University was established in 1964, and currently serves around 4,000 students across the country on its five campuses. Its Santa Barbara students — who are mainly working adults getting back into school after brief or extended hiatuses — can obtain bachelor of arts as well as master’s degrees. The average student is 35 years old and over 70 percent of the population, which is around 500 students, receive some form of financial aid.