“If you can see it or touch it – and it needs to be improved – that’s what we do.”

That’s how Rebecca Smith, the facilities project manager for the Ivy Tech Indianapolis campus, would describe the Procurement & Project Management Department simply. However, it’s anything but simple. 

Smith started as the campus facilities project manager in February, and her responsibilities are within improvement projects and building infrastructure.

“It ranges from an office move to enhancing an existing space with new paint, carpet, and furniture. Facilities improvements can also mean redoing the entire exterior landscaping, working on masonry repairs, repairing the big portico out on Fall Creek Parkway, replacing a generator or an elevator," Smith said.  

With just over four months under her belt, she and her team have started and completed numerous projects in a short period of time. 

To name a few, you may have noticed two new signs showcasing our food vendors – Tea’s Me Cafe and Real Taste Cafe – outside of the Illinois Fall Creek Center (IFC) on 26th and 27th Streets. Plus, current landscaping projects entail removing dead trees from campus and making space for fresh native Indiana plants and trees. 

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Interior-wise, numerous projects are underway involving furniture, flooring, and painting upgrades in several of our buildings, which many of our staff, faculty, and students have already seen, including the new artwork in the IT Launch Lab Lounge area. 

“The goal was to refresh the space and make it look more like a timeless artistic display. Another goal was to make sure the colors were tied in with the Launch Lab,” Smith said. 

The new creatively-cubed display is a motivational wall stacked with educational quotes by some of the world’s most influential thought leaders. Printed in white font, the italicized quotes lay on the backdrop of Ivy greens and light blue hues and feature a photo of the quoted leader. 

Several faculty and staff members helped identify educational quotes and content to feature in the display. Those quoted include Henry David Thoreau, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, and Dr. Suess. 

“Having that motivational, educational wall being in such a high-traffic area, it can be a focal point for any student passing by that just needs a little bit of a pick-me-up,” Smith said. 

Smith has always enjoyed all things management and seeing a project through from start to finish. She finds joy in landscape project management and a combination of event planning and schedule management.

“A lot of what a project manager does is people connection,” Smith said. “It's more about connecting vendors to the people that are designing the project to the people that want the project done, to begin with. And making sure everyone's on the same page and that there's an idea and a concept of timelines and what the finished product is going to look like and make sure that was approved by everyone.”

Smith says her job could not be done without everyone in the Facilities department. It’s truly a team effort.

Although they are technically split into three different teams – procurement, custodial, and maintenance – all of the roles are interconnected and necessary to one another’s success. 

“Yes, I plan projects like office moves, but that requires input and work from every single member of the Facilities department,” Smith started. 

“It requires the logistics team members to seek out new furniture and make sure that the space is set up and functioning in a way that works for an office and a meeting space. It requires our in-house painter to come and do touch-ups on the walls. It requires our maintenance team to ensure that the HVAC functions as it is supposed to and that all the lights have been changed recently. It requires our custodial team to do a full cleaning of the space to make sure it's fresh for the new person,” Smith said. “I just want to emphasize that yes, I’m a project manager, but everyone in the Facilities department also plays a key role in all of these different tasks getting done.”

Smith is most looking forward to the upcoming redevelopment plans for the Glick Technology Center. Over the next year to year and a half, the facilities department plans to revamp some of the classrooms and computer labs to ensure the building has the best furniture and optimal learning space available to our students. 

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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.