ANDERSON, Ind. —
”We do not want to put this project at risk, nor delay it any longer,” Austin said.
While Austin said she supports efforts to revitalize downtown, a new Ivy Tech campus off I-69 should be thought of as an “opportunity to create a premier gateway to the community.”
A big part of the push to move the campus from Mayor Kevin Smith’s perspective, however, is cost.
Anderson already bought the 60th Street property at cost of nearly $900,000, and made a commitment to spend $1 million to improve roads and provide water, sewer and electricity to bring the campus to life, about $300,000 of which has already been spent.
A cost study made by City Engineer Mike Spyers, however, puts the actual site development costs at about $8 million.
City Council President David Eicks, who has participated in many of the meetings with Ivy Tech officials, said that sum, if accurate, is worrisome because it potentially could make it impossible for Anderson to invest in other redevelopment projects.
The downtown location would provide Ivy Tech with adequate space for facilities and parking, and cost a lot less to develop, according to Interim Economic Development Director Greg Winkler.
Andy Bowne, chancellor of Ivy Tech’s East Central Region, believes infrastructure costs necessary to open the campus could be completed for about $1 million.
While Ivy Tech officials are open to discussions regarding the location of the new Anderson campus, he noted, a downtown location would not fit with the college’s current philosophy of locating campuses along interstates for accessibility and visibility.
In addition, he said a location in downtown Anderson could make it difficult to draw students from Pendleton, Daleville, Fishers and other areas.
Bowne also said plans for the new campus have to be ready for approval by late September to meet the projected 2015 facility opening, leaving little time to shift plans for the location of the campus.
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