Posted: Friday, May 16, 2014 12:14 am | Updated: 7:45 am, Fri May 16, 2014.
Despite drizzlng rain, leaders of Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington wore hardhats and shoveled dirt for the groundbreaking ceremony. Around them, signs in the grass marked the rooms that will be part of the expansion to the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building at Ivy Tech Bloomington.
Visible construction of the roughly 85,000-square-foot expansion will start next week; the addition will save Ivy Tech Bloomington $400,000 a year in rent once it opens in January 2016, said Jennie Vaughan, the campus chancellor.
“Our spirits and the future of the Bloomington regional campus are brighter than ever,” she told the crowd that gathered inside the Student Commons area before the groundbreaking.
For the $24 million project, Ivy Tech received $20 million from the state and will start a fundraising campaign this summer to raise the last $4 million, Vaughan said.
Planning for the project began in 2006, said John Whikehart, Ivy Tech Bloomington chancellor emeritus. The current building opened in 2002, but campus leaders said the roughly 6,500 Ivy Tech students from six area counties have outgrown the space.
Currently, Ivy Tech rents two spaces on Liberty Drive, but with the added space to the academic building, Ivy Tech will only need to rent one of the spaces — part of a former MCL Cafeteria, because it has everything the culinary program needs, Vaughan said.
The education department and assorted classroom, laboratory and office space in the other Liberty Drive space will move to the main building, Vaughan said.
“It’s all about student success,” she said.
Vaughan said the expansion will provide a bigger tutoring center, an expanded library, a new writing center and more.
Plus, the student common area will be a space that is dedicated to just students, unlike the current space, which is often used for events, she said.
The focus is the students and increased opportunities for training, said Connie Ferguson, chairwoman of the Ivy Tech Bloomington Regional Board of Trustees.
“We’re going to make the state proud of the money they invested,” she said.
An artist’s rendering shows the new lecture hall included in expansion plans for the Steve and Connie Ferguson Academic Building at Ivy Tech Bloomington. The $24 million expansion will nearly double the number of classrooms in the building and add 13 new labs and 33 new offices, as well as the lecture hall and a dining facility.