$6M Advanced Manufacturing Expansion Planned At Ivy Tech L’burg
By Mike Perleberg
A rendering of the existing Ivy Tech Community College campus on Industrial Drive in Lawrenceburg, with the planned expansion shown to the left. Provided by Ivy Tech/Schmidt Associates.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Ivy Tech Community College’s Lawrenceburg Lakeside Campus will soon be home to an advanced manufacturing training facility that will be a tool in helping grow southeast Indiana’s skilled workforce.
The school is planning a $6 million, 52,055 square feet addition that will house a state of the art advanced manufacturing and technology labs. The project will also see the renovation of two classrooms in the existing 1999 building into an Armatrol training lab and updated manufacturing lab. About $1 million of the cost will purchase equipment to be used in training.
“Manufacturers are looking for a stream of future employees and this project will provide that. In Indiana, the number one jobs sector is manufacturing. It’s an aging workforce, though. This will allow us to bring young people in and train them,” Mark Graver, Ivy Tech Campus Lawrenceburg and Batesville Campus President, tells Eagle 99.3.
Ivy Tech plans to offer training for welding, CNC programmers, machinists, production assembly, industrial maintenance technicians, robotics, tool and dye, and other related fields. Ivy Tech students as well as local high school juniors and seniors would be able to take advantage of the curriculum.
“Currently, we do not have a welding lab in southeast Indiana and we have a lot of citizens who call in asking about that certification,” Graver claims.
The school says it will keep the training program operational for at least 10 years.
Ivy Tech officials are not the only ones excited about the new manufacturing programs. So are several Dearborn County manufacturers including Beg Techs, Fortis Security Products, Anchor Glass, Batesville Products Inc., Stedman Machine Company, Aurora Casket Company, and Intra-Pac. Each of those businesses have penned letters of support for the Ivy Tech manufacturing labs as a means to “long term economic prosperity of the region.”
“Due to the age of the existing workforce, local manufacturers will be losing 45-55 percent of their skilled technicians over the next 5-7 years. We must expand the pipeline of industrial technology graduates, CNC machinists, etc.,” wrote David Hostetter with Greendale-based Fortis Security.
Ivy Tech has pledged towards the expansion $3 million accumulated from annual local casino gaming distributions. The community college has asked the City of Lawrenceburg to match that. Graver said the school may ask other communities for funding assistance.
On Monday, Lawrenceburg City Council voted 4-1 to put $2 million towards the project in 2015 and possibly another $700,000 in the future. The request had come with a favorable recommendation from the city’s grant committee. Councilman Mike Lawrence cast the lone “no” vote over concerns about city funds.
The city already contributed $300,000 in 2013 for Ivy Tech to develop plans and a cost estimate for the expansion.
“We’ve had great support from Mayor Dennis Carr. He’s really been a driving force behind this,” Graver says.
The renovation and expansion project could begin as soon as September and, if all goes as planned, be completed by the end of 2016. Students could begin training starting in the 2017 spring semester.