Ivy Tech Community College to transform former St. Vincent Hospital into academic building

INDIANAPOLIS – Officials from Ivy Tech Community College today announced plans to construct a new state-of-the-art classroom building, including a community gathering place, on the site of the former St. Vincent Hospital on Fall Creek Parkway.

The façade of the building will be preserved, per the recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, a committee representing members of the college, community and neighborhood formed in July 2008 to study the use of the building.

“We are very pleased that the building’s original façade will be preserved and believe this is a win-win scenario for the college, our students and the community,” said Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder. “A portion of the building will be saved and we have the potential to offer expanded classroom space at our rapidly expanding downtown Indianapolis campus.”

The college is in need of additional classroom and lab space, as well as parking, at its downtown campus. Enrollment at Ivy Tech’s Indianapolis campus has quadrupled over the past 10 years with Fall 2009 semester enrollment of more than 22,000 students. The Indianapolis campus was also named the fastest growing community college in the nation in a report released by Community College Week in late 2008.

A space needs study conducted by Paulien & Associates in 2005-2006 projected that Ivy Tech’s greatest needs, in order to continue to provide its core programs and services, include: classroom spaces, scheduled teaching labs, open labs, and student support spaces (library, bookstore, food services, etc.), even to meet their current student population.

The architectural and cost study for reusing the former St. Vincent Hospital as classrooms concluded that although it is possible to renovate the entire building for instructional use, it was not the most cost effective or the most efficient use of the building.

“Because of the narrow depth of the existing rooms, it would be very challenging to transform the current space into classrooms,” said Sarah Hempstead, AIA, LEED AP, a principal at Schmidt Associates, the firm that led the architectural and cost study along with Lynch Harrison Brumleve and Guepel DeMars Hagerman. “By restoring the primary façade and constructing new educational space, Ivy Tech will preserve the original look of the building, but still be able to accommodate their need for modern classrooms and laboratory facilities.”

Ivy Tech Indianapolis Chancellor Dr. Hank Dunn added, “The timing of this announcement could not be more critical. With a record-breaking 22,000 students enrolled in classes for the fall semester, we’re bulging at the seams when it comes to adequate classroom space and room for basic student services. Development of the old St. Vincent site will allow us to meet the educational needs of the growing number of students and businesses turning to the community college as their educational partner of choice.”

Dunn applauded the work of the Blue Ribbon Task Force in reaching a compromise with the college that allows for construction of much-needed classroom and lab space while honoring the historical significance of the site by incorporating the existing façade into the design of the new building.

City of Indianapolis officials are “on board” with the task force’s recommendation, said Maury Plambeck, director of the Department of Metropolitan Development, noting that the city is prepared to sign a revised project agreement reflecting the changes in the building design proposed by Ivy Tech.

“The plan for the former St. Vincent Hospital is truly reflective of the collaborative nature of the Blue Ribbon Task Force,” said Anthony Bridgeman, director of community initiatives for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force. “It balances the needs of the community and of the college, while recognizing the building’s historic significance.”

Dunn said that the project is basically “shovel ready.” Tentative plans call for constructing a 150,000 square foot building to include classrooms, science labs, and new science and engineering programs, said Dunn. Schmidt Architects is working on the building space plan as well as exterior design. Shiel Sexton will be the construction manager for the project.

The former St. Vincent Hospital building, located at Fall Creek Pkwy. North Dr. and Illinois St., was constructed beginning in 1909 and served as St. Vincent Hospital from 1913 to 1974. It was renovated in the mid 1970s into 296 housing units for the elderly, disabled and low-income individuals known as the Weyerbacher Terrace Apartments. It was closed in 2003 and taken over by the federal government. The City of Indianapolis acquired the property in 2004 and it was acquired by Ivy Tech Community College in 2006. The north wing of the building and adjacent structures, not original to the main structure, were removed in 2007.

About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech is the state’s largest public post-secondary institution and the nation’s largest singly-accredited statewide community college system with more than 130,000 students enrolled annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

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