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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 10:50 am | Fair 61º


Brooks Institute Completes Santa Barbara Consolidation in Advance of Final Move to Ventura

Mason Street campus shifted to East Cota Street site, where professional photography students will finish out studies before Ventura relocation is complete

Brooks Institute has moved everything out of its Mason Street campus, completing the first steps of a Santa Barbara campus consolidation process announced last year.

The end goal is to offer all visual arts education at the institute’s Ventura site — an eight-acre former motion picture studio at 5301 N. Ventura Ave.

The transition marks the beginning of the end of an era in Santa Barbara for the former Brooks Institute of Photography, which was founded by Ernest Brooks in 1945 and called several local sites its home over the decades since. The Brooks family sold the school to Career Education Corp. in 1999.

Brooks offices at 25 E. Mason St. in the Funk Zone were vacated in late December and shifted to the institute’s 27 E. Cota St. location, where students who started taking classes in Santa Barbara will finish out their studies, according to President Susan Kirkman.

Beginning last fall, all incoming freshmen were enrolled on the Ventura campus, where many are already taking advantage of cross-platform opportunities, Kirkman said.

Officials hope the remaining 140 students in Santa Barbara’s photography programs will make the move complete by graduating before or by May or August 2015.

“There’s a lot of misconception in Santa Barbara that we’ve left already,” Kirkman told Noozhawk. “A lot depends on how quickly we get these Santa Barbara students graduated. There’s always a straggler or two.”

A handful of registrar, financial aid and other staff were most affected by the Santa Barbara move, which had to be completed before the semester started Jan. 6.

The Mason Street space has since been leased to house Sonos growing downtown operations. 

Kirkman said students weren’t affected much. The studio, equipment and library space many of them enjoyed at the Mason campus were moved to the Cota campus during the transition.

Students are also still showing their artwork in Gallery 27 at the Cota campus.

“The move went very well,” Kirkman said.

Like many faculty and staff members, Kirkman is splitting her time between Santa Barbara and Ventura for now.

The move to Ventura is part of the first plan phase, and the second will include capital improvements — and, hopefully, new facilities — at the existing Ventura campus.

Kirkman said she’s looking forward to the day when all 500 or so Brooks students in film, photography, visual journalism and graphic design will be housed under the same roof.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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