New performing arts boarding school to open in Iowa City


A private performing arts high school is opening this fall in Iowa City.

The Gazette reports the Iowa Conservatory, also known as ICON, at 123 N. Linn St, is the first performing arts high school to open in Iowa. Leslie Nolte, performing arts educator at Nolte Academy in Coralville, is the founder.

Last year, Nolte opened the James Theatre in Iowa City, which serves as a community performing arts center, and will be a workshop site for the Iowa Conservatory.

About 35,000 students attend private boarding schools in the U.S. each year at campuses scattered nationwide, though most are on the East Coast.

The inaugural class is expected to be about 40 students this fall, with over 300 students expected within five years. They will get over 25 hours a week of private and group coaching and courses in the arts. Students will also enroll in the Iowa City Community School District’s online school to continue their general education. Iowa City students who wish to enroll can do so in the conservatory’s commuter program, which would allow them to take their morning classes in their home district and attend arts education classes in the afternoon.

The conservatory will have one guidance counselor or resident assistant for every eight boarding students to help students adjust to living on their own away from home.

Ms. Nolte says the school is already attracting experienced educators and students from across the country for this fall’s first term.