After 30 years of filling the hearts of students with music and theater, the Naperville School of Performing Arts abruptly closed its doors on Wednesday.
According to court filings, the owners of the school owed more than $2.4 million to their landlords, and they filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday.
“It is absolutely devastating. We did not see this happening,” parent Ann Wallin said.
In an email to parents, Executive Director Barbara Yokom said that the closure was the only option left after ownership decided they were done negotiating with their tenants.
“We had been in financial negotiations with our landlord since our initial build-out and continued construction over the past four years,” the email read. “Building ownership was no longer willing to negotiate and has left us with only one option.”
The shutdown came as a shock to parents, whose children were enrolled in summer classes at the school.
“There was no communication that the school was in any sort of financial situation,” Wallin said. “We were even at school Tuesday for a banquet.”
In the aftermath of the closure, communities are stepping up with support, as studios in Aurora, Westmont, Naperville, and Hinsdale are offering students credits and discounts to ensure their summer programs aren’t disrupted.
“The community has rallied together,” parent Debbie Johnson said. “The entire ensemble, the teachers and families both, are really in this together to prove that we are strong and we will overcome this, but we’re saddened by the situation.”