Ivy Tech, city to add arts plaza outside Waldron

The Herald-Times
Posted: Monday, June 30, 2014

By MJ Slaby 812-331-4371 | mslaby@heraldt.com

Additions and repairs to the plaza outside the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center are aimed to make the arts center look like just that: an arts center.

“We want to draw people to the Waldron,” said Jennie Vaughan, chancellor of the Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington campus. “It’s a downtown anchor.”

The Waldron plaza project along Fourth and Walnut streets will include pedestrian-friendly entries with custom walkways, plants and spaces for public art and performances. The new plaza  separates pedestrians from parallel parking spaces and accommodates new bicycle lanes the city plans to add. The project also will add outdoor lighting as a safety feature for audiences attending performances and students taking late classes, Vaughan said.

Ivy Tech has started accepting bids for the project, and Vaughan said the goal is for work to start in August and be done in time to enjoy the plaza this fall.

Trees and plants added outside the building will lessen the traffic noise inside, especially for performances, Vaughan said. She said there will also be public art features outside, although those details have yet to be determined.

Vaughan said the Waldron steps facing Walnut Street need to be repaired as well and the doors to fire bay area are rotting, especially after the harsh winter. Once the doors are repaired, they can be opened for performances with the crowd spilling onto the sidewalk, she said.

The project will be funded by the city of Bloomington, Ivy Tech and two grants – one from the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County and one from the Indiana Arts Commission.

From the Waldron’s earliest days, there was always the hope of similar plans, said Vaughan and Miah Michaelsen, Bloomington’s assistant economic development director for the arts.

Michaelsen said she’s excited to see sculptures added for the outdoor arts connection at the Waldron.

“It adds the visual context,” she said.

Jennie Vaughan, Ivy Tech chancellor

Miah Michaelsen, Bloomington’s assistant economic development director for the arts

Artist’s rendering