General Assembly approves $40 million for Ivy Tech Kokomo Campus transformation

KOKOMO, Ind. —Ivy Tech Community College’s Kokomo Campus will undergo a transformation over the next few years, thanks to the $40 million earmarked for the project in the 2017-2019 biennial state budget approved today by the Indiana General Assembly. The total cost of the project, about $43 million, will include $3 million in private funding to be raised in a capital campaign.

The state budget now goes to Gov. Eric Holcomb for approval. The Ivy Tech capital project aims to create a “new” campus to better serve the educational and economic needs of the north central Indiana region that includes Howard, Cass, Miami, Tipton, and Fulton counties and impacts the surrounding area.

“We are very excited about the value this project will have for Ivy Tech students on the Kokomo Campus and all the communities the campus serves,” said David Bathe, chancellor of the Ivy Tech Kokomo and Lafayette Region.  “We thank our legislators – Sen. Jim Buck and Reps. Mike Karickhoff, Heath VanNatter and Tony Cook – for supporting this initiative that will have such a positive impact across the region.”

“The Indiana General Assembly worked diligently to dedicate funding for this project in the balanced state budget,” Karickhoff said. “Kokomo, along with surrounding communities, will benefit greatly from this total upgrade to our Ivy Tech campus. As a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, it was vital to me to support Ivy Tech as they prepare Hoosiers for the workforce.”

Bathe noted the project will include substantial building renovations and about 50,000 square feet of new space to bring all Ivy Tech programs in Kokomo to Ivy Tech’s Morgan Street Campus.

“Ivy Tech Kokomo campus was our top capital request as access for students is at times difficult because classrooms are offered at various locations in Kokomo, and this campus has not had a significant upgrade in over 30 years. One of their leased buildings being utilized was uninhabitable after the Kokomo tornado last summer,” said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann. “Our plan is to create an attractive, convenient, and safe college campus, which this appropriation – bolstered by some local dollars – will make that possible, providing an environment that will help students succeed.

“This is especially critical to the College’s mission as the state’s workforce engine responsible for providing the education and training Hoosier citizens need to fil the high-wage, high-demand jobs of today and tomorrow,” she continued. “Indiana projects that by 2025 the state will have one million job openings because of retirements and new positions and we are leading the charge to move Hoosiers up into these higher paying jobs, bettering lives while meeting workforce needs in our state.”

The majority of the new space will house the Health Sciences and Nursing programs, which include dental and medical assisting, health care support, paramedic science, respiratory care, and surgical technology, as well as practical nursing and nursing programs. Other additional space and building renovations will bring auto technology, agriculture, welding, advanced manufacturing, and informatics to the connected Kokomo Campus.

The importance of the project to the area was emphasized by Charlie Sparks, president of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, which represents more than 600 area employers, organizations and institutions. Speaking on behalf of the Alliance, Sparks said, “Ivy Tech is integral to meeting our ongoing training needs and human resources development in this community. This effort to expand and modernize Ivy Tech facilities in Kokomo will be a major benefit to our economic development efforts.”

Kokomo Campus President Michelle Simmons said, “Bringing all our students together in one expanded, updated, and efficient campus has been the goal for some time. The Aug. 24 tornadoes that severely damaged the Inventrek building, where our growing Health Sciences and Nursing programs had been located in rented space since 2002, made the move even more urgent.”

Simmons said the needs of the Kokomo Campus have been under close review by Ivy Tech and state government representatives for some time as officials worked to determine how best to upgrade the College’s 40-year-old location in Kokomo. The state’s last capital investment in Ivy Tech Kokomo facilities came more than 30 years ago and requests for the funding have been made in the last three state budget cycles. The plan addresses the need to bring the facilities up to current College standards in terms of providing a safe, healthy, and up-to-date environment.

SOURCE: News release from Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region