Paier College moves to Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT – Bridgeport can officially claim another Connecticut institution: Paier College.

Paier, a small for-profit college known for the visual arts, moved ahead of Hamden’s fall semester to his new 5.5-acre home on the University of Bridgeport campus.

“In magnitude, it is maybe five times bigger than where we were,” said Joe Bierbaum, the college president. “Maybe more than that.”

The college also plans to increase its number of students and add master’s programs launched in early 2022.

The physical move marks the latest development in Paier’s acquisition of the struggling UB art programs – as part of a joint agreement reached in June 2020 with Goodwin University.

Paier announced his move to Bridgeport in March, with the goal of being ready for incoming students this fall. And although the deadline was sped up, college officials managed to move forward on schedule.

“You really recognize that a week is 168 hours,” Bierbaum said of the process. “And you try to use as many hours as possible.”

Paier remains an independent institution on the UB campus in the Arnold Bernhard Center for Arts & Humanities and Cooper Hall Dormitory, alongside two other buildings on the southwest side of the campus.

“I have Long Island Sound this way, I have Bridgeport Beach right in front of me and we’re surrounded by Seaside Park,” Bierbaum said. “It’s nice.”

“You can be in almost any space when it’s you and a canvas,” he added. “What is really charming here is that people look away from the web.”

And although Paier is an arts and design-centric school, the college president said the college also focuses on commercial arts and employment opportunities. He said the move to Bridgeport could help meet those goals.

“We’re so close to New York – we’re right in Fairfield County,” he said. “It has taken us a big step towards where a lot of these opportunities will be for students. “

Bierbaum said the colocation model with UB and Goodwin is a welcome bonus to the space Paier already has.

“We have facilities that we share together,” he said. “We also provide everything we need for our students on campus.

Paier is also growing. Bierbaum said the college had 55 students at the start of its term in winter 2019. Since then, enrollment has grown to 216 students this fall, plus more than 50 faculty members.

The college president estimated that the freshman class makes up about a third of that population, and he wouldn’t be surprised if Paier has over 800 students.

As to what will happen to the Hamden campus, Bierbaum said Paier still owns the property and “is not really in the rental business.”

All university programs are hosted in Bridgeport, but Paier still hopes to do some good with its old facilities. As of this week, the college has opened its residential space to Afghan refugees.

Bierbaum called the opportunity to help with these efforts “a pleasure”.

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