Ivy Tech outlines building expansion project

The Herald-Times
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
By Jon Blau 331-4266 | jblau@heraldt.comheraldtimesonline.com

Ivy Tech has completed renderings of what it expects the main academic building on the Bloomington campus to look like when an expansion project is completed in January 2016.

The community college received $20 million from the state Legislature in July for a $24 million project, which will create 83,680 square feet of space in a two-story addition of the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building. The project will nearly double the number of classrooms in the building, from 29 to 57, as well as adding 13 new labs, 33 offices, a dining commons and a lecture hall that can fit up to 400 people.

Ivy Tech Community College’s board of trustees must approve the project in April, but the college hopes to receive bids for the project in February and start construction on the new wing of the academic building in late spring or early summer of 2014.

Chancellor John Whikehart said the most “special” aspect of the building project coming to fruition was simply that: the plan moving forward. The college has been planning this expansion since 2007.

“It’s funny, hearing the talk around campus, ‘Gosh, things are really moving quickly,’ with bidding and the groundbreaking,” Whikehart said. “But this has been a seven-year journey.”

Whikehart said the new plan has remnants from 2007, but much of it has been updated, taking into consideration changes over the past few years. With Bloomingfoods having a presence on the campus — the local grocer didn’t in 2007 — the renderings released Friday allowed for the business to expand its role in a larger dining commons. Students have been “deprived” of the eating space when conferences come to the college, Whikehart said. Food service space under the renovation plans will increase from 700 to 1,125 square feet. The student commons allocation will jump from 2,180 to 3,940 square feet.

The plans for the expansion once included a fitness center, Whikehart said, but that has been axed because the YMCA recently opened a new facility on the city’s west side. Whikehart said the college could partner with the YMCA to get memberships for Ivy Tech students, and the “Y” could also provide a training ground for students in Ivy Tech’s early childhood education programs.

Along with increasing space on the campus, the expansion will reduce the amount of off-campus space Ivy Tech will have to lease. The building will be able to accommodate all of the programs in rented space on the east side of Liberty Drive, saving the college about $250,000 a year in lease payments, according to Whikehart. Ivy Tech will still rent space in the former MCL Restaurant and Bakery building, because it has an industrial-size kitchen for the school’s culinary programs, which the institution can’t easily replicate.

The expansion of the academic building comes as Ivy Tech begins renovations on the Pain Real Estate building, purchased with the help of the county. The campus library will be moved to that building, allowing for the current library space in the Ferguson building to be transformed into a computer lab and testing center. There is currently 1,100 square feet of tutoring and writing lab space in the main academic building, but, after renovations, there should be 2,050 square feet set aside for those purposes.

Ivy Tech’s renderings for the new wing also show “shelled out” spaces, Whikehart said, leaving the college with the flexibility to create new classroom or lab space as program needs become more apparent.

The renderings also reflect another reality — the college will need more money to make it happen. A capital campaign will be initiated to raise the additional $4 million for the project, Whikehart said, but, for now, the architect’s rendering of the new lecture space depicts the stage. Above it reads: “Donor Opportunity Lecture Hall.”

Ivy Tech expansion exterior

Ivy Tech expansion exterior

The planned northwest entry of the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington is seen in this architect’s rendering. Work on the two-story addition is expected to start in the spring or early summer, adding 28 classrooms, 13 labs, 33 offices and a large lecture hall, and expanding other areas. Schmidt Associates | Courtesy image

Ivy Tech proposed dining commons

Ivy Tech proposed dining commons

Rendering of proposed dining commons in the enlarged Ferguson Building at Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus. Schmidt Associates | Courtesy image

Ivy Tech planned lecture hall

Ivy Tech planned lecture hall

Rendering of proposed lecture hall in the enlarged Ferguson Building at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington.  Schmidt Associates | Courtesy image

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