Area Arts
Waldron’s hopeful future includes roof garden

By Nicole Brooks H-T Arts Editor
October 9, 2011

File attachment: PowerPoint file shows proposed future plans for the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center

More big, positive changes are coming to downtown Bloomington’s Waldron, if the building’s new owners have anything to say about it.

One of the more striking features in Ivy Tech’s proposed changes to the Waldron is the second-floor roof garden, which would face west and be an outdoor gallery and gathering space. Courtesy image

This image from Schmidt Associates shows the proposed look of the Waldron’s third-floor lobby. The space is much more open that the building’s current configuration. Courtesy image

Ivy Tech Community College and its preferred architecture firm, Schmidt Associates of Indianapolis, recently unveiled their plans for the future of the John Waldron Arts Center at Fourth and Walnut streets. Those plans include a roof garden where now stand an old shed and unused radio station satellites, internal renovations that really open up the space, reworked dressing rooms for performers, a kiln and much more.

All told, the new work will cost about $2 million, Ivy Tech Chancellor John Whikehart said last week.

Several changes Ivy Tech wants — or needs — to make to the Waldron are already finished or under way, Whikehart said. The building’s main roof is being replaced. Modifications needed to adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act have been made. The Waldron now has six art galleries, and its Auditorium has new chairs and lighting.

But more is called for, and the plans are about as grand as you can get without radically changing the exterior of the historic structure.

The only changes to be made to the outside of the building include the addition of bright banners, some signage, that new roof, and the roof garden off the second floor, facing west to the skywalk.

When Ivy Tech bought the building from the city of Bloomington in May 2010 for $1, that second-floor outdoor space boasted only an old fire department shed and some large WFHB satellites. Ivy Tech wants to make that area an outdoor gallery for sculpture and a place for fresh air during show intermissions and art openings.

These ideas, of course, cost money.

“It’s all based on the financial support to carry out the work,” Whikehart said of the timetable for renovations. “We’re going to have to depend on private support.”

Ivy Tech plans to launch a campaign for that private support that will lump together the Waldron upgrades, expansion of the main Ivy Tech campus on Daniels Way, and an endowed faculty position and scholarships at the community college’s Cook Center for Entrepreneurship.

Whikehart is optimistic about the whole endeavor, and his love for the Waldron is evident.

“I think our acquisition of the John Waldron Arts Center is one of the most exciting developments in my tenure.”

And while Ivy Tech has created a 10-year master plan for “fundraising efforts and phased renovation projects,” Whikehart hopes to have the current proposed Waldron changes made within the next three years.

Copyright: 2011

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.