The Herald-Times
Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 6:55 am

Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus continues to grow, both in size and in stature. The capital campaign launched Tuesday is important to that growth.

The campaign is being called “Here We Grow Again!”

It wasn’t that long ago that Ivy Tech in Bloomington was a wholly different operation. When ground was broken in April 2000 on what is now the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building, enrollment at the college was around 2,000. When that groundbreaking was held, Willie Kimmons was the Ivy Tech chancellor and a man of bold and brash predictions. He said then he believed Ivy Tech’s enrollment in Bloomington would grow to 5,000 in five years, and he wasn’t too far off.

By 2007 enrollment had more than doubled and a capital campaign had already raised more than $3.5 million to make improvements to Ivy Tech. The Grow Ivy Tech campaign raised money for expanding life-sciences programs; scholarships for students; the Center for Civic Engagement; and future building expansion. Ivy Tech had already outgrown the “new” building, which opened in 2002.

Now, enrollment is about 6,500 and opportunities for those students have grown exponentially from what was available in 2000. A big reason is that new academic building, but others include visionary leadership by Kimmons’ successor, John Whikehart, and an active, thoughtful and opportunistic regional board of trustees.

Whikehart has moved on now to become deputy mayor for the city of Bloomington, so new chancellor Jennie Vaughn oversaw Tuesday’s kick-off event for a campaign to raise $4 million to put into an expansion project partially funded by the state. Funds from this campaign will benefit students in a number of ways, including adding state-of-the-art lab spaces and classrooms, expanding the Olcott Library and the Hoosier Times student commons space, and creating group and individual study areas, a lecture hall, and other educational amenities. The additions will save nearly $300,000 being spent leasing space outside Ferguson Academic Building.

Through partnerships with businesses and industries, Indiana University and local high schools, Ivy Tech has provided high quality training and educational opportunities to thousands of students over the past decade. It has moved forward fast, from a quiet but useful learning alternative in our community to a vigorous and strong civic and educational player.

There’s no reason to slow that growth. 

The “Here We Grow Again” campaign deserves support .

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.