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September 24, 2013

Ivy Tech pursues shelter, renovation funds

Wabash Valley campus enrollment down 4 percent this year

TERRE HAUTE — Ivy Tech officials say the goal is to raise $2.5 million by the end of the year in a partnership to move the Terre Haute Humane Shelter to an Ivy Tech building in the Vigo County Industrial Park.

The campaign is still in its “quiet” phase.

In recent weeks, “there have been significant measures of progress, and we’re feeling very encouraged,” Chancellor Ann Valentine said after Friday’s meeting of the regional board.

Ivy Tech officials updated the board on the status of the fundraising campaign.

The goal of the campaign is to move the humane shelter to the Ivy Tech TechLAB facility (former Doughmakers), which would require renovation, and to equip space for veterinary technician and related programming. The humane society would lease space from Ivy Tech.

Becky Miller, Ivy Tech’s executive director of advancement, said those involved with the campaign are taking the story to the community. Also, efforts continue to get Ellen DeGeneres involved with the fundraising campaign, and some local people with “connections” may help pave the way.

The campaign has about 1,100 letters of support it hopes to present to DeGeneres.

The campaign “has a lot of energy behind it,” Miller said.

If the campaign reaches its $2.5 million goal, officials hope to raise additional funds to endow some of the humane society operating expenses and to add such things as state-of-the-art kennels that would help reduce noise.

No other Ivy Tech region offers a vet tech program, Valentine said.

The board also authorized the region to proceed with steps necessary to renovate part of the TechLAB facility to accommodate labs, classrooms and equipment for diesel programming.

The region also received an important state committee approval Friday to move forward with the renovation.

The region is partnering with the Ivy Tech president’s office to fund the $1.3 million renovation. Ivy Tech also is seeking industrial partners to meet equipment and future needs.

The regional board has made diesel programming a high priority, Valentine said.

“We’re hearing from employers they are having a difficult time finding qualified diesel technicians,” she said. In particular, there is a great need for workers with diesel locomotive training.

Indiana Rail Road Co. recently opened a new $7.6 million locomotive maintenance facility near Jasonville.

A representative of the company recently told Ivy Tech representatives that the rail industry in the Chicago area and Indiana has a great need for workers. “It’s very hard to find someone who has locomotive experience at all,” she said.

Indiana Rail Road approached Ivy Tech about partnering to do diesel and diesel locomotive training, Valentine said. “We’re very excited about that partnership.”

Right now, diesel is a specialty under the region’s automotive technology program.

If the program grows, it may at some point be offered as a standalone program, she said.

Currently, Ivy Tech offers some diesel courses in its existing auto lab in another building located in the industrial park, “but we don’t have room for all of the diesel equipment we need to fully expand,” Valentine said.

Ivy Tech is now working on final architectural specifications before the project goes to bid.

In other matters, Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley enrollment is down about 4 percent this fall. The region has about 3,100 full-time equivalent students this fall, Valentine said.

Utility savings measures have been implemented, and restructuring in the corporate college, human resources, registrar and finance areas will allow for additional savings in payroll and benefits, according to the chancellor’s written report.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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