INDIANAPOLIS – Officials and students from Ivy Tech Community College along with the Mayor’s office and the community cut the ribbon, officially opening the doors to the newest expansion to the Indianapolis Campus. The building is on the site of the former St. Vincent Hospital on Fall Creek Parkway in Indianapolis.
“This is an exciting day, not just for our students, faculty and staff, but for the local community and City of Indianapolis,” said Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder. “We have restored a piece of city history, while providing much needed classroom space for this growing Indianapolis campus.”
Once a jewel in the City of Indianapolis, the former St. Vincent Hospital shines again as a state-of-the-art academic and community gathering place. The 211,650 square foot Illinois Fall Creek Center, which houses 29 classrooms, eight science labs, four computer labs and six study rooms, is a welcome addition to the growing campus. The new building is also home to the campus café with seating for approximately 250 people, and offers two community rooms.
“This magnificent building has deep historical roots within our community. In 1878, The Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul journeyed to Indianapolis to open a hospital to minister to the bodies, minds, and spirits of those in need. With just a few dollars and lots of hard work, St. Vincent’s Hospital was opened in downtown Indy by four Daughters of Charity. In 1913, due to rapid growth and need for their services, the Daughters of Charity moved the hospital to its new facility on the corner of Fall Creek and Illinois where it remained for more than 60 years,” said Dr. Kaye Walter, Chancellor for the Central Indiana Region of Ivy Tech. “It seems only fitting that the focus and tradition of service envisioned by the Daughters of Charity for their Indianapolis community will continue as we re-open this wonderful facility to serve students and our community…..feeding the bodies, minds, and spirits of those in need.”
Representatives from Ivy Tech, the Mayor’s Office, the Blue Ribbon Taskforce, St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership gathered at the new site to celebrate the opening. Members of the community, staff and students were given the opportunity to take tours of the state-of-the-art facility.
“I am excited to be a part of this momentous occasion,” said Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams. “Ivy Tech has become a bridge for those who were left on the shores of despair and allowed them to cross to the banks of hope and opportunity.”
Enrollment at Ivy Tech’s Indianapolis campus has more than doubled over the past 10 years with enrollment of more than 35,000 students. The Indianapolis campus has been named one of the fastest growing community colleges in the nation by the Community College Week. The addition of classrooms and labs will allow the College to increase the number of courses as well as the times the courses are offered, giving the growing student population more options to fit their schedules. With seating up to 250, the new café provides a broader range of food choices, including more healthy selections, as well as a place for students to gather.
After an architectural and cost study for reusing the former St. Vincent Hospital, led by Schmidt and Associates, it was determined that while it was possible to renovate the entire building, it was not the most cost effective option. A decision was made to preserve and restore the front façade of the building. The deconstruction and construction of the new building occurred in two phases. The deconstruction phase began in the fall of 2009. As part of the deconstruction phase, the façade of the building was preserved, along with key architectural pieces including the grand staircase and outside lamp posts. The construction phase began in the spring of 2010.
“It was challenging to balance the character and proportions of a century-old structure with the architectural requirements for a modern educational building, but we were able to make it work by using technology and creativity,” said Sarah Hempstead, AIA, LEED AP, the lead architect on the project for Schmidt Associates. “We preserved what neighborhood leaders love about the building and still met the needs of 21st century students.”
The former St. Vincent Hospital building, located at Fall Creek Pkwy North Dr. and Illinois Street, was constructed beginning in 1911 and served as St. Vincent Hospital from 1913 to 1974. It was renovated in the mid 1970’s 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.
Ivy Tech will also be hosting a Friends and Family Open House on Saturday, January 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public is invited to visit the campus, tour the new building, and take part in a variety of family-friendly activities. The event is free.
To commemorate this historical building, the College has also created a web site and invites anyone with a story or memory to please share it at www.ivytech.edu/stvincent.
ABOUT IVYTECHCOMMUNITY COLLEGE: 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.