Ivy Tech expansion gets construction approval from higher ed commission

The Herald-Times

Ivy Tech expansion gets construction approval from higher ed commission

By Mike Leonard 331-4368 | mleonard@heraldt.com
December 14, 2012

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education voted Thursday to recommend funding for a $20 million, 80,000 square-foot addition to the primary building on the Bloomington campus.

While the recommendation still must be passed by the Indiana General Assembly, its passage by the commission is seen as a significant step by Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart.

“It’s been sitting with the commission for a number of years,” Whikehart said Thursday afternoon. “The project status has just been ‘on hold’, so this is a big step forward for us and one we’ve not been able to take.”

The current primary campus building is a 148,000 sq. ft. facility that opened in 2002 and was designed to accommodate 5,000 students. The Bloomington campus now serves 6,300 students and leases about 50,000 sq. ft. of space to handle the overflow.

The probable need to expand the current building was a part of the campus master plan from the beginning. In 2007, Ivy Tech pared down its plan to add a 115,000 square foot addition at the request of the Legislature and an 85,000 square foot addition was approved for design. Bonding authority to finance construction was projected for approval in 2009.

During the recession, all higher education funding proposals were sent back to the higher education commission for review. The projects have languished there since.

The commission — whose members are appointed by the governor — approved 15 higher education projects Thursday. In addition to the Ivy Tech Bloomington campus, which saw its previous 85,000 square foot building shrink to 80,000, the commission gave the go-ahead to three Indiana University projects, including $21 million to the Bloomington campus core renovation; $29 million to regional campus renovations and $25 million for a School of Medicine expansion in Indianapolis.

It is not yet known when the General Assembly will take up the higher education projects, but they will need to pass through House and Senate committees and then the full House and Senate.

Whikehart said the Bloomington campus will review its previously approved project to see if it still comports with the school’s current usage and program dynamic. Even with rapid approvals all the way around, the addition to the north side of the primary would not likely yield space ready to occupy until the fall of 2016, he said.

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2012

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