SBCC Foundation buys $5.3 million building for cosmetology

The+SBCC+Foundation+purchased+the+vacated+Paul+Mitchell+building+for+the+Cosmetology+Academy+at+525+Anacapa+Street+in+Santa+Barbara.+The+foundation+purchased+the+building+in+hopes+to+boost+the+academy%27s+enrollment%2C+and+insists+it+couldn%27t+use+that+money+to+rebuild+the+Campus+Center.

RYAN CULLOM

The SBCC Foundation purchased the vacated Paul Mitchell building for the Cosmetology Academy at 525 Anacapa Street in Santa Barbara. The foundation purchased the building in hopes to boost the academy's enrollment, and insists it couldn't use that money to rebuild the Campus Center.

ANGELA ROSE BICKMANN, Channels Staff

The SBCC Foundation purchased a $5.3 million downtown Santa Barbara building in hopes of increasing enrollment and improving education in City College’s Cosmetology Academy.

“It was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up,” said Geoff Green, SBCC Foundation CEO.

The investment has left City College students and staff puzzled as to why the college would spend a substantial non-existing chunk of money on an investment, rather than reconstructing the unstable Campus Center Building.

“I wish we could give $9 million to the campus, but we don’t have it,” Green said.

The building, located at 525 Anacapa St. is where the Paul Mitchell the School of Santa Barbara was located before it officially closed in late September.

The foundation’s finances are restricted by donors alone. The money goes where the donors decide.

Although the foundation is partnered with the college, making it a separate entity, not a penny of the $5.3 million could’ve been used towards purchasing a building on City College campus.

City College is stuck in its seventh year of declining enrollment, and is putting its plans of rebuilding the Campus Center on hold. The college remains in a debt the foundation has never encountered and cannot fix unless donors offer to help raise money.

In this case, individuals within the community, and other foundations and corporations wanted to invest in the City College’s Cosmetology Academy.

Cosmetology Dean Melissa Moreno believes the academy’s current space in Goleta doesn’t match the high caliber of the program.

“The facility needed a facelift,” she said. “We haven’t been able to attract a robust and diverse clientele.”

One of the academy’s biggest challenges is getting enough clients for students to practice on in a lab setting.

The Paul Mitchell School conveniently closed as rent spiked at the Cosmetology Academy’s current Goleta location. As soon as the building was on the market, conversation sparked amongst staff.

“The space is more conducive to serving public and clients,” Moreno said.

The City College Cosmetology Academy will be leasing the new building from the SBCC Foundation. They plan to move to the new location over the summer in order to have the school ready by August, the beginning of the college’s academic year.

“We are very grateful to the foundation for the support of our program,” said Moreno.

City College is currently the only school in Santa Barbara offering cosmetology. Michelle Puailoa, cosmetology co-department chair, said they plan on keeping the program the same, but modernizing it to favor its downtown location and future growth in enrollment.

“It will be nice for our cosmetology students to be closer to the main campus,” Puailoa said. “They will finally get to take advantage of the services at the City College.”