COLUMBUS – Columbus Board of Aviation Commissioners recently agreed to lease 30 acres to Ivy Tech Community College at a rate of $1 a year for no less than 50 years. The land was necessary for the college’s expansion plans for a new instructional building and renovation to its main campus on Central Avenue in Columbus.
“We are grateful to have community leaders who share the same vision for higher education in this region and believe in Ivy Tech’s mission as much as we do,” said John Hogan, Chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Columbus Region. “The board’s generosity and willingness to partner with Ivy Tech will impact generations of students.”
Enrollment at Ivy Tech’s Columbus Region has tripled in the last six years. Compared to the same time last fall semester, the Ivy Tech Columbus Region is experiencing a 24 percent increase over its last fall term. That demand has forced Ivy Tech officials to find other buildings in the area to meet growing demands on the community college.
“We have had to become creative in meeting the demands of the communities we serve,” Hogan said. “We are fast approaching the point at which we cannot stretch our facilities any further.”
Ivy Tech students are spilling beyond the main campus walls to the Columbus Learning Center, Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, an administrative building, Advanced Manufacturing Institute and a building for Ivy Tech’s Agriculture Program. Outside of Columbus, the community college offers classes in Franklin, Greensburg, Seymour, North Vernon, and Nashville.
“We understand the growing pains that Ivy Tech is experiencing,” said Rod Blasdell, Columbus Municipal Airport manager. “The recent action by the Board of Aviation Commissioners will certainly help the College and we support that. But we also believe Ivy Tech’s expansion will be a driver of more development opportunities at the airport.”
Ivy Tech requested 30 acres on the west side of Central Avenue just north of the soccer fields used by Columbus East and North high schools. While the board agreed to provide the acreage to Ivy Tech, they will consider other options for the property and future college expansion site.
“A campus expansion in Columbus would certainly help us meet the demand we have for education and training,” Hogan said. “It would also be another economic development asset that the community and region could use in luring businesses and industry to the area.”
Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students 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.