ANDERSON — The community celebrated the official dedication of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute and Maker Space, but Jim Schellinger noted it was a step into the future for Anderson and Madison County.

Schellinger, Secretary of the Indiana Department of Commerce, said Friday the 94,000-square-foot facility, built at a cost of $14.5 million, is an amazing accomplishment.

Several hundred community and business leaders attended the official dedication that highlighted companies involved in the development of the facility.

“There have been so many changes in Madison County and Anderson,” Schellinger said. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is the character of the community.

“In the truest sense Anderson is a Hoosier community,” Schellinger continued. “This facility was built despite all the obstacles. Anderson has adapted to change and trusted the process.”

Schellinger said Anderson is once again on the cutting edge when it comes to innovation that started with one of the first Certified Technology Parks, which has now become the Flagship Enterprise Center.

“Collaboration is the secret sauce,” he said. “If you keep that up it will take you to great heights.

“Indiana is a center for manufacturing excellence and advanced manufacturing,” Schellinger added. “One in five Hoosiers work every day in advanced manufacturing.”

Among the challenges facing the state are workforce development and a loss of population, he said.

“This is our time in Indiana,” Schellinger said. “You’re doing great things in Anderson and Madison County.”

Purdue University Dean Gary Bertoline said the university has been overwhelmed by the great community support for the project.

“Purdue is looking at doing different things than other institutes of higher learning,” he said. “The nation was built on the greatness of our education system. Anderson is being innovative by partnering with Purdue, the community and local businesses.”

Bertoline noted that the former General Motors plant on the site used to build starter motors and said Purdue Polytechnic should be viewed as a start to Anderson's future greatness.

“You looked at a different way to address a problem that was challenging,” he said. “We have great confidence in this base.”

Bertoline said Purdue University wants to see Anderson and the nine other communities with regional campuses grow in the future.

“This is a model we can replicate around the state,” he said. “This is the start of a new day for Anderson and a model for the state.”

Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said the facility is proof of how hard the community worked together to move forward.

“Innovation will take us to the future,” he said. “What comes out of this building will move the city forward into the future.”

Broderick said the loss of General Motors jobs in the city is in the past and that the Anderson community continues to move forward.

The Purdue Polytechnic Institute and Maker Space is located on Scatterfield Road, directly north of the Ford AutoWorld dealership.

Purdue is leasing 44,000 square feet from the Flagship Enterprise Center for 15 years.

The facility cost $14.5 million. The city of Anderson issued a $15 million bond issue to cover a portion of the construction costs that will be repaid through a combination of Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) funds and Community Revitalization Enhancement District (CREeD) revenues.

The CREeD District is expected to generate $11,260,000 over the next 15 years. The remainder of the funding will be obtained through the TIF District.

​Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.