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Ivy Tech Seeks $55.6M in State Funding for New Tech Center

Extensive renovations of a two-story building at Ivy Tech Community College's Terre Haute campus would accommodate new science labs and the expansion of programs such as information technology and cybersecurity.

Ivy Tech Terre Haute.jpg
Photo credit: Ivy Tech Community College - Terre Haute's Facebook page
(TNS) — As the Indiana General Assembly prepares for its next budget-writing session, Ivy Tech Community College is seeking $55.6 million for a new, 78,000 square-foot building and renovation project at the Terre Haute main campus.

The new, two-story building would house student services and many in-demand educational programs.

The existing two-story building on the north side of the main campus would undergo an extensive renovation to house health sciences and nursing programs.

The college statewide has six capital projects it is requesting, with Terre Haute ranked fourth in priority, said Lea Anne Crooks, Ivy Tech Terre Haute chancellor.

If approved, the original 1967 structure (Isaacs building) and the 1985 building (New Technology Center) that faces U.S. 41 would be razed and the new structure would extend into the west parking lot. Nearly everything south of the auditorium would be demolished.

"We have done an amazing job of maintaining (the Isaacs building)," Crooks said, but there comes a point from a cost-benefit analysis where "it makes much more sense to build a new structure."

The same analysis indicated that tearing down the 1985 structure also made the most fiscal sense.

Of the $55.6 million, about $15 million would go toward renovation of the current two-story building that will remain (currently called the New Technology Center). The remaining $40 million will cover new construction, demolition, engineering/architect fees, site improvement, fixtures, equipment and other related costs.

The proposed new building would house student services including admissions, recruitment and advising offices. It would house classrooms for information technology and cybersecurity, business and logistics, education, arts and sciences (general education) and criminal justice. It also would house science labs.

The new building would accommodate the need for expansion in such areas as cybersecurity. "It would allow us to have the latest technology to make sure we're equipping our students with the tools to keep people safe from cyber (attacks)," Crooks said.

As far as renovations to the two-story building that will be used by health sciences and nursing, the vision would be a modern, hospital-type environment, Crooks said. "Our students are learning on the latest and greatest equipment right now, but they are crammed into some spaces."

The School of Nursing is currently housed in the Tech LAB at the south campus in the Vigo County Industrial Park.

The renovations would provide a more conducive lab environment for learning. "One thing we've done as a state is increase our nursing program and added seats" for more students, Crooks said. To attract students, "We need to present (those programs) in the best way possible."

Ivy Tech facilities for some health care programs have been undergoing donor-funded renovation to meet workforce demand; some of those programs, including paramedic science and respiratory therapy, would be moved into the newly renovated two-story health and nursing facility once work is complete.

Current workforce needs required those renovations to be undertaken before the new facility/renovation project was proposed, and the $55.6 million in funding is still subject to legislative approval.

"We have a lot of graduates come out of those two programs (paramedic and respiratory)," Crooks said.

For perspective on where the new facility would be located, the existing clocktower would be gone because the new building would be built where it now stands. The auditorium would be the southernmost part of the existing building that will connect to the new construction.

The Ivy Tech capital request has been presented to the Commission for Higher Education, but not yet to legislative committees. "Our local legislators are aware," Crooks said.

Ivy Tech Terre Haute's request is important "because of what this would do for our workforce and economic development," Crooks said. The local community college provides training for much of the health care workforce in the community.

While funding for capital projects is likely to be competitive, it involves one-time expenditures "so that is why we're hopeful," she said. "And with where we are as a state, putting dollars into workforce development is really the best way to address the workforce needs."

The new building will reduce the local college's square footage somewhat, with more efficient use of space, officials say.

The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce's legislative agenda will include both the Ivy Tech facility and Indiana State University's $66 million request for renovation and expansion of the Technology Annex Building.

The ISU project would modernize space for a Center for Technology Engineering & Design. The plan includes a two-story, 30,000-square-foot addition and demolition of 17,000 square feet.

©2022 The Tribune-Star (Terre Haute, Ind.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.