The Herald-Times

2014, a year of growth for Ivy Tech Bloomington
Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2014
By MJ Slaby 812-331-4371 |

It’s been a year of changes for Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington.

The beginning of 2014 was marked by a chancellor opening and a plan to combine administrations with Evansville. It ends with a stand-alone campus that has a new leader and a fundraiser more than halfway to the goal.

“The imminent goal is to complete our capital campaign and raise more than $4 million to complete the long-awaited addition to the main campus Ferguson building,” said Chancellor Jennie Vaughan of moving into the new year. “We look forward to opening up the space in 2016 and to providing more academic opportunities for new and current students.”

Ivy Tech also expanded in other ways in 2014 — adding academic programs and recruiting out of state for the first time.

But adding academic space is the most visible change, and the expansion is scheduled to be completed in 2015, bringing most of Ivy Tech Bloomington to the main campus — 2015 will also be the year of recruiting new donors as campus leaders look for donations to meet the construction goal.

Vaughan, who has worked at Ivy Tech for more than 17 years, became chancellor in April after John Whikehart left to become deputy mayor.

“She’s one of the team. … We knew where her heart was,” said Connie Ferguson, chairwoman of the regional Ivy Tech board, about Vaughan.

Just weeks before Vaughan’s appointment, the future of the campus was unsure. In February, the Ivy Tech State Board of Trustees said Bloomington and Evansville — both without chancellors — would have a combined administration.

By April — and with some nudging from Bloomington regional trustees to reconsider — the state board members changed their minds, saying Bloomington would stay a stand-alone campus to focus on a new chancellor and an upcoming construction project.

The $24 million project had $20 million in funding from the state, but campus leaders needed to raise the last $4 locally. The last fundraiser was in 2006, with a $3 million goal that resulted in $5.2 million.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion to the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building happened in May.

“Our spirits and the future of the Bloomington regional campus are brighter than ever,” Vaughan said at the ceremony.

The building project is a nearly 90,000 square-foot addition that includes classrooms and labs, a 400-seat lecture hall, expansions to the Olcott Library, Hoosier Times Student Commons and Bloomingfoods Market and Café as well as space for culinary, baking, pastry and hospitality programs.

Campus leaders turned attention from celebrating to funding and raised $2.7 million of the $4 million by November including a $1 million gift from the Fergusons and $1 million from the Cook Group.

“Everybody reaches a point in their life where they need a place to go,” said Carl Cook, CEO of Cook Group, as he presented the check in September. “Ivy Tech is a place for them to go so they can get somewhere else in their lives.”

northwest entrance
Courtesy photo
New northwest entry of the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building at Ivy Tech Bloomington.

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.