By Martin Slagter Kokomo Tribune
---- — TIPTON — Ivy Tech Community College will have a stronger presence in Tipton, after agreeing to a lease that will move its current operations in the city a mile down the road.
The Tipton County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a lease agreement and memorandum of understanding between Ivy Tech, the city and Tipton County that will allow the college to move classes to 221 N. Main St., providing more space and facility control.
Classes were previously offered inside the Purdue Extension–Tipton County office, but the need in recent years to expand and have sole control over its class schedule and information technology within the building made finding a new facility necessary, Ivy Tech Chancellor Steve Daily said.
The facility at 221 N. Main St. previously was used as the administrative building for the Tipton Community School Corp. and is located just north of Encompass Credit Union.
“We reached the point where there was enough of a student base that it started getting crowded,” Daily said. “We’re really pleased and excited to stay here in Tipton.”
Ivy Tech will pay $10 per year for the facility in the two-year lease and will be able to start offering classes on site in January, Daily noted.
The memorandum of understanding makes the building available for use upon signature and states the county and city both invest $10,000 to the Ivy Tech Foundation. No rent or building fees will be charged to Ivy Tech, but the college will be responsible for paying its own utilities.
Tipton Mayor Don Havens said the building will “secure a greater Ivy Tech presence” in Tipton by providing a number of two-year programs that could be applied at the future Chrysler transmission plant off of U.S. 31.
“We actually have a real need here for certified production technicians, which is a two-year certification offered at Ivy Tech,” he said. “That is what this is all about. We’ve recognized the need for a long time and tried to build a relationship, but the facility has made it somewhat difficult.”
Ivy Tech has been looking to have a great impact on automotive education in recent years with the beginning of its automotive institute in 2011. The college recently partnered with Chrysler and nine area schools in establishing an Advanced Innovative Manufacturing (AIM) program that will give area students a chance to gain hands-on advanced manufacturing experience while earning their high school diplomas.
Ivy Tech also will launch a unique academic, industry-blended 75 credit hour co-op Advanced Manufacturing degree program in January. The college also leased 11,000 square feet of space in October in the historic Armstrong-Landon building in downtown Kokomo to increase its presence in the community.
Daily said Tipton’s willingness to work with Ivy Tech to further its educational mission while establishing roots in Tipton will hopefully lead to a more permanent, “stand-alone” site owned by Ivy Tech in the future.
“The fact of the matter is the college doesn’t have the resources to establish sites in some of the smaller communities,” he said. “Having a mayor and county commissioners that understand the importance of job training in the community enough to provide a physical site works out well for us.”
Commissioner Joe VanBibber credited Havens for working with Ivy Tech over the past nine months to iron out a new location for the building as the demand for space grew.
“It’s been a long process and there have been some early promises that didn’t work out,” he said. “The point is, Ivy Tech had an opportunity for post-high school education coming to Tipton. It’s good for the community and they want to be here.”