Plans to shutter the Emma Lake arts and sciences facility, also known as the Kenderdine Campus of the University of Saskatchewan, are drawing passionate pleas for a reprieve.

On Tuesday, supporters of the program, which has won international praise for its influence on the arts, spoke about their fondness for the facility during a town hall forum.

"Every emerging artist in Saskatchewan, I'd say 99 per cent of them, have gone through that facility," Karen Wooller, a high school arts teacher, said at the meeting. "It's just like you are denying the cream of the crop access to that great education."

According to the university, the Emma Lake campus, situated in a forested area north of Prince Albert, requires substantial renovations that the school cannot afford.

Wooller said if the university permanently closes the program, she will suggest graduating high school students look elsewhere to further their arts education.

While the Kenderdine Campus is perhaps best known for its connection to the arts, the campus also offers unique courses related to the sciences, especially.

Jack Gray, from the university's biology department, said students will miss out if the Emma Lake program is axed.

Ecology students can do several weeks of study in the natural elements of the campus.

"And the student have overwhelmingly supported that course and feel that it is a very strong part of them recognizing themselves as biology students out there," Gray said.

The university said the Emma Lake facility will close for three years and a decision on its future would be made at the end of that time.

With files from CBC's Dan Kerslake