News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 17, 2014

Board deals with burst pipes impact

Atrium floor found covered in water after extreme cold

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Cold winter temperatures brought an unwelcome surprise last week to maintenance officials at Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley.

On Friday, the regional board of trustees was informed of a $3,400 emergency repair bill paid to restore elevators damaged after a frozen water pipe burst.

Water first impacted control boards on the elevator, but also ran into an oil container on the elevator, said Gary Murphy, director of facilities.

“We were fortunate no one was in the elevator” or in the building at the time of the incident Brown said. Maintenance workers discovered the atrium floor in front of an auditorium covered in water on Jan. 6.

The college was closed for three days due to cold temperatures and a power outage.

In other matters, a summer camp that is targeted to close the skills gap on science, technology, engineering and math for manufacturing will run July 14 to 18 for “tween age” students, who can receive college credits for attending the camp.

The five-day robotics camp, to be held at Ivy Tech’s facility in the Vigo County Industrial Park, is targeting 20 middle school students “to expose them to what manufacturing is really like,” said Beau Brown, director of Ivy Tech’s Corporate College.

Students will each build a robot, which they will keep at the end of the camp. A race competition will be held on the final day of camp. The camp will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Currently the projected cost to Ivy Tech is $13,723, making the per person cost at $686. Brown said Ivy Tech hopes to lower the person cost to below $200 per individual through corporate sponsorships and scholarships.

The “activity bot” comes with a variety of sensors to navigate by touch, light sensors and ultra sonic distance sensors. The robot is built on an aluminum chassis and looks like a small-wheeled box. Students will learn wiring diagrams and programming, as well as learning how the robotics system operates.

Ivy Tech plans to apply for a National Science Foundation grant this year that can fully fund future summer camps, Brown said.

In an update on an ongoing program, a veterinary technician program is slated to go before Ivy Tech’s State Board of Trustees in February for approval. Chancellor Ann Valentine said the program remains on schedule to start classes this fall.

“We have something like 75 students on a waiting list, so we have a high interest in the program,” Valentine said.

Ivy Tech already has a capital campaign that partners with the Terre Haute Humane Society to raise funding for that program.

For a new diesel program, Valentine said Ivy Tech’s Wabash Valley Region has to raise funding for at least half of the equipment for a new diesel laboratory before a renovation/construction contract will be executed.

“We already got a plan started and we have already received some donations and we had a conference call [Friday morning] with [Ivy Tech’s] executive director of finance so that we can determine exactly what is our target” for finances, Valentine said after the board meeting.

“We have cleaned up the list of what we need in terms of engines, differentials and transmissions and so on. We need to know from the [state] president how much we need to raise before we can start construction,” Valentine said.

That program is also slated to start in the fall semester, if funding can be secured, Valentine said. Last month, the regional board approved an $878,900 bid from Hanning Construction for the diesel facility.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.