ANDERSON — The city Redevelopment Commission passed a motion that will widen and improve roads near the site of a new Ivy Tech campus near Interstate 69 on Tuesday.
The projects, which will widen 60th Street near Main Street from 20 feet to 24 feet and round out road angles around the site, will cost the city roughly $1.8 million. The changes are designed to accommodate a nearly $20 million, 85,000-square-foot facility on 38 acres of land along the interstate highway. The new site is expected to be a state-of-the-art flagship campus for Anderson that will service about 1,900 students.
“This is a big step toward growing Ivy Tech here in Anderson, and we want to help them grow,” said Director of Corporate Sales and Economic Development Greg Winkler in a meeting with the commission on Tuesday night.
Projected traffic increases, left-turn convenience, necessity of road improvements and general safety were a few of the reasons cited by Winkler and Ivy Tech Chancellor Andy Bowne for the road enhancements.
During his presentation to the commission, Bowne said Indiana is ranked 40th in the country in secondary education attainment and 36th in median household income.
“Those numbers are correlated,” he said.
Part of bringing the state to par with the rest of the country in key areas, Bowne said, is retraining the populace to be better equipped for the more sophisticated manufacturing jobs of today. Winkler and the commissioners agreed, and the motion was passed unanimously.
The need for a new campus site has been debated since 2009, but delays and financial constraints have pushed the project back. According to Bowne, the next step, now that the Redevelopment Commission has approved the road improvements, is getting approval to build from the Board of Zoning Appeals in the fall.
Ideally, after approval, the school will take bids from contractors and award those jobs in early February 2014. Construction would then begin in March and the campus will begin classes in fall 2015.
The city had pushed to build the new campus in either the former Edgewood Plaza shopping center on Nichol Avenue or downtown in the 300 block of Jackson Street. According to Winkler, the college passed on those proposals.
Other projects passed
Also approved at the meeting were a pair of funding requests for road projects.
The first will create a system of intelligent signs along the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor. The dynamic signs will keep drivers informed on whether the railroad crossing downtown is closed, and a series of static signs will show detour routes. The signs will be installed in several locations, including 38th and 29th streets.
According to the commissioners, the Madison County Council of Governments has proposed traffic-diverting solutions for the railroad crossing for years. Several ideas, like an overpass, proved too costly, and the intelligent sign system was one of the more viable alternatives. According to commission president Joe Royer, the system will cost the commission about $107,000, with the project total equaling about $280,000.
Also passing unanimously was a Gateway Corridor Project that will create a series of gateways at key city entry points, including MLK Boulevard, Nichol Avenue and 18th Street. The project is expected to cost $364,000 total, with the commission covering $105,000.
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What's next? Proposed timeline for Ivy Tech I-69 campus Tuesday - 60th Street Project approved by Anderson Redevelopment Commission Fall - Proposal and approval by Madison County Board of Zoning Appeals Winter - Bids taken from contractors February 2014 - Contracts awarded March 2014 - Break ground on new site Fall 2015 - Campus accepts students for fall semester