Ivy Tech really cookin’

Students love pavilion’s modern look, spaces


From left, Stacy Strand, Bryce McClellan and April Williams talk about the poundcake cupcakes they made in the culinary school in Cook Pavilion at Ivy Tech. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times

The Herald-Times
Posted: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 12:31 am
By Kat Carlton 812-331-4351 | kcarlton@heraldt.com

The aroma of warm chocolate chip cookies and pound cake swirled in the air of the new culinary space at Ivy Tech’s Cook Pavilion in Bloomington Monday, as students of baking science in white coats swarmed around chef instructor Stacy Strand.

“We’re so excited — elated,” Strand said with a smile, referring to the students’ brand-new learning space. “We weren’t allowed to design the old space. It was a production kitchen. This is a teaching kitchen, and it’s much better.”

Monday marked the beginning of Ivy Tech Bloomington’s spring semester and the first day students occupied many areas of the newly opened Cook Pavilion. Almost two months ago, officials celebrated the naming of the new wing, which is a $24 million, 90,000-square-foot expansion of the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building, named for the Cook Group. The school’s hospitality program was formerly housed in a building on Liberty Drive. But beginning this semester, all the culinary students study and practice on the same campus off West Third Street, in rooms exposed by big windows.

“To be able to see what it’s like in action is really awesome,” said Chancellor Jennie Vaughan. “We’ve waited so long for this day.”

Vaughan said the school was promised an expansion nearly 10 years ago, but it got delayed. The project’s first phase in 2007 accommodated 5,000 students, and quickly became too small for a growing number of students. It currently serves around 6,500 students, many of whom are on the main campus. Last semester some students, including those studying hospitality administration, occupied rented spaces on Liberty Drive. With the new wing of the main Bloomington campus, Ivy Tech was able to give up one of those two spaces.

Culinary students Bob Gray and Anna Salzman said they appreciate the new class space and its centralized location on the main campus.

“It’s a lot more open,” said Salzman. “I like that there are windows. The other space felt like a basement.”

“I’m really looking forward to working with the new equipment,” said Gray, who noted that the convection ovens in the old building malfunctioned.

Gray also pointed out the four large butcher block tables in the room and the blast chiller, a device used to chill or freeze food more quickly than a traditional refrigerator.

“This is going to make things run a lot more smoothly,” said instructor Strand.

Highlights of the new wing include:

• The culinary area, which saves $300,000 a year immediately in leasing costs and $200,000 more expected in 2017;

• Shreve Hall, the building’s first lecture hall of its kind, which will seat up to 400 people and can be converted into multiple classroom spaces;

• A new Bloomingfoods store with double the space of the previous Ivy Tech Bloomington location;

• A paramedic science room with mock ambulance, allowing for training on both analog and digital systems;

• The Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Arts, Math and Sciences “makers space” for students to work together and develop creativity;

• An advanced automation robotics technology center, with a line similar to the drug-fill line at Cook Pharmica, to train people in using robots;

• A new fine arts area, which accommodates visual arts, dance classes, a music room and kinesiology.

Other highlights of the new addition include a new common area, classrooms, faculty area, advising and testing spaces and more.

Cleaning, wiring and other finishing touches were still being made to parts of Cook Pavilion on Monday. One of the unfinished areas will be converted into a student-run cafe, which will likely open next semester and seat 40-50 people inside, with additional students outside later on. According to Strand, the cafe is planned to open each Wednesday with one hospitality administration class doing the cooking and another class serving.

Last year, the hospitality administration program received a five-year renewal of accreditation for culinary arts and an initial approval for five years of accreditation for baking and pastry arts by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission. According to Ivy Tech officials, the program was also designated “Exemplary” for the culinary arts concentration, since the program was in full compliance upon renewal. It’s also the only culinary program in the state with that designation.

Chef instructor Strand said the move from the Liberty Drive building is a welcome change.

“There, nobody knew we existed,” she said. “It’s great being a part of the school.”

Students can still register for classes through the end of the week at Ivy Tech in Bloomington.

James Mynatt, center, gets lunch in the Cook Pavilion, which is now open for students, and classes at Ivy Tech.  Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times

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