About 100 people attended a Princeton Historic Preservation Commission meeting Thursday night to ask officials to declare portions of the Westminster Choir College campus a historic landmark.
Supporters of historic designation hope the move would create a roadblock preventing the sale of the campus.
Rider University owns and operates the choir college in downtown Princeton. Last month, the president of Rider University said school officials are considering closing the Princeton campus and selling the property. The choir college program would then be moved to the main campus in Lawrence. The proposal comes as Rider University faces significant financial challenges.
A representative for Rider University said Thursday night that no decision has been made yet about the fate of the Princeton campus. A decision is expected next month. He also said that the “historic status of the campus is not related to the university’s business decisions,” meaning preserving the campus would not prevent the university from moving the choir college to Lawrence if school officials decide to make the move.
The discussion about the choir college only lasted about half an hour. Audience members did not make individual statements at the microphone.
Constance Fee, president of the Alumni Council of Westminster Choir College, spoke on behalf of college supporters who want the campus preserved and talked about the rich history of the school that has attracted world renowned musicians. The school is regularly ranked one of the top 10 music schools int he country.
The group is retaining experts to formally submit an application for historic landmark designation at the local level. Town officials outlined the process that must be followed to apply for local designation as a historic landmark.
The request for historic landmark designation is just one of many efforts alumni, students and music professionals are taking to convince officials that the campus should remain in Princeton. A Facebook group with almost 3,000 members and a website have been created by the coalition working to preserve the school. Group members are creating t-shirts to promote its cause, and a professional public relations agency is sending out press releases for the group. Westminster alumni performed on Fox 5’s Good Day New York yesterday morning.