By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — By the summer of 2015, Anderson could have a new $24 million Ivy Tech Community College building sitting on 38 acres of land along Interstate 69 donated by the city.
That is, if "everything goes as planned," Anderson's Vice Chancellor James Willey said, as approval to proceed with construction is on the State Budget Committee's agenda Wednesday.
The proposed 85,000-square-foot building has been in the works since 2009 and would house programs from four of Ivy Tech's academic schools with the addition of classroom and lab space, and also provide support spaces for faculty offices, a student lounge and library.
"We've stretched to our limits at the 53rd (Street) campus," Willey said, and while the Ebbertt location on 38th Street, leased to Ivy Tech by Anderson Community Schools, does help, more space is needed to accommodate the 3 to 5 percent growth the campus has begun to see from year-to-year.
"We're just at the point we need to occupy a facility that will last us the next 50 years and beyond," he said.
The majority of funding, $20 million, would come from the 2009 Bonding Authority, with the rest provided by private donations.
Anderson's existing campus on 53rd Street would be dedicated to the School of Health Sciences while the Ebbertt building would likely fall back into ACS' hands. The school district still uses the building for automotive training.
"To have a new campus, in our experience in the past, does provide growth," Willey said.
A 30 percent growth, on average, he added, using the Marion campus as an example.
Willey said Anderson's campus is "healthy with enrollment" because of a combination of factors.
Anderson has one of only two Ivy Tech dental hygiene sites in the state and there's been "tremendous growth" in the health care industry, he said, along with welding, where officials have seen growth in job placement.
Students are drawn in from not only Madison County, but from all over the east central region, Willey added.
"We try to tailor the programs to where the need is (in the area)," he said.
Mayor Kevin Smith said the city looks forward to the opening of a new campus and continuing to work with leaders of the college.
"We really value higher education and Ivy Tech has been a long-time partner with the citizens of Anderson," he said.
The State Budget Committee meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Ivy Tech Meridian campus in Indianapolis and live streamed on the committee's webpage.
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