In what San Jose officials see as a coup for local economic growth, the Ex'pression College for Digital Arts has picked the north side of the city for the school's first expansion outside of its Emeryville headquarters complex.
Ex'pression College intends to open a branch school this September that could accommodate 550 students and have a staff of 120 employees.
"We see a lot of opportunities in Silicon Valley," said Dan Levinson, chief executive officer of Ex'pression College. "All the technology, social media, Internet, gaming companies. We have had our eye on San Jose the last few years."
Ex'pression College leased 65,000 square feet on Fox Lane near Murphy Avenue and Ridder Park Drive. The deal was arranged through realty brokerages Cassidy Turley and CB Richard Ellis.
"It's all about attracting young talent, the kind of young people who live in the South Bay," said Nanci Klein, deputy director of San Jose's Office of Economic Development. "They are offering degrees in very exciting fields. To have a very well-respected educational establishment like this in our town is fantastic."
The school offers bachelor's degrees in animation and visual effects, digital filmmaking, game art and design, interaction design, motion graphic design, interactive audio and sound arts.
Levinson said about 25 percent of the inquiries about attending the college are from people who live in Santa Clara County. In tough economic times, and
"We decided it was time to bring the school to the students, rather than make the students come to the school," Levinson said. The main Emeryville campus consists of two buildings that total 100,000 square feet.
On the college website, the school posted a welcome message advising students that the school was headed to San Jose.
"San Jose, here we come," the posting said in part. The college added that it is "the place you want to be if you are interested in pursuing a career in a design, visual or audio-related field." Those fields, the school said, include "animation, game design, mobile applications, recording, film and television."
The college's expansion isn't the only recent push by large organizations into this section of north San Jose.
LSI earlier this year bought two big buildings a short distance from the future college campus. LSI will shift its headquarters and other units to the new campus. At least 850 LSI employees will work at the complex.
New retail is arriving just a few blocks away, with a development under construction on Oakland Road at East Brokaw Road. That center will be anchored by an LA Fitness outlet, marking the entry of the health club into the Bay Area.
"We are seeing a lot more activity in north San Jose," Klein said. "Companies are expanding and locating here. This college will help with bringing to San Jose young, bright people that are the type of talent that every city in the nation is competing to attract."
Contact George Avalos at 925-977-8477. Follow him at twitter.com/george_avalos.