By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Four years ago, Ivy Tech Community College chose a 40 acre parcel of land along 60th Street with Interstate 69 frontage as the location for its new campus here.
Since early spring, however, city officials have been working behind the scenes to convince the college's executive leadership to consider alternatives.
The sites they have in mind are nowhere near an interstate. One is the former Edgewood Plaza shopping center on Nichol Avenue. The other is in the 300 block of Jackson Street.
An Ivy Tech official said Wednesday, however, that a campus located away from I-69 would run contrary to Ivy Tech's strategy for campus locations.
In July, the State Budget Committee finally released $20 million for Ivy Tech to begin construction of the new 76,000-square-foot facility that will house programs from four of the college's academic schools — business technology, public and social services and liberal arts and sciences.
Ivy Tech still needs $4 million in private donations to finish the campus.
And none of that money will help fiance the cost of necessary road improvements, and other infrastructure such as water, sewer and electricity, necessary to bringing a college campus to life.
According to city estimates, those costs could be more than $8.1 million on 60th Street, but far less at either the Jackson Street or Nichol Avenue locations.
Mayor Kevin Smith would like to see the campus at a downtown location and said the Jackson Street option not only has the space Ivy Tech needs for a new campus, it would help revitalize downtown Anderson. What's more, he added, it would cost a lot less to develop that site than the one on 60th Street.
"A campus downtown would not only provide benefits to local residents, but benefits to taxpayers and business owners," Smith said.
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. Moreover, he noted that the downtown Anderson location could make it difficult to draw students from Pendleton, Daleville, Fishers and other areas.
Bowne also noted that 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.
"By late September, this all has to be resolved, or we miss a deadline," Bowne said.
Like Stu Hirsch on facebook and follow him @stuhirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.