The Community Education Coalition will receive $3 million in Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) funding for two campus projects and is seeking tax increment funding to further support one of these initiatives.
The coalition plans to request $100,000 from the Columbus Redevelopment Commission at its September meeting to help fund a landscape and access project for the southwest corner of campus. Heather Pope, director of redevelopment, said the money, if approved, will come from the airport’s TIF district.
Indiana’s South-Central Talent Region – which includes Bartholomew, Jackson and Jennings counties, as well as Edinburgh – received a $30 million READI grant in December, and state officials have recently started approving allocations for specific projects.
Community Education Coalition CEO John Burnett said $1.3 million in READI funding has been approved for new student-centric spaces at the Columbus Learning Center (CLC) known as Bridge and Landing. . $1.7 million has been approved for a landscaping project tied to the southwest corner of campus. TIF funding is being sought to support this latest project, which has a budget of just over $2 million.
Burnett and CEC Executive Director Kathy Oren made a presentation at Monday’s commission meeting to set the stage for the request. This included a budget showing how various investments from the CEC campus and Airpark institutions represent matching funds for the READI grants.
The initiatives are estimated to total $13,426,884 and span from 2021 to 2026. This includes approximately $5.87 million for deck and landing staffing, $1.99 million for program infrastructure, $2.4 million for interior renovations, and $3.1 million for improved campus access.
“It’s a big project for us,” Burnett said. “This is a project of about $13.5 million in total, so what we’re here to ask for is $100,000, which is really the last piece of infrastructure support. for a project in the southwest corner.”
The corner is part of a larger long-term project. The Cummins Foundation Architecture Program provided a grant for a landscaping framework for the Airpark campus and a detailed design for its southwest corner. Seattle-based architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN) was selected as the designer for the project from a shortlist recommended by the foundation.
The landscaping project involved a number of community and campus stakeholders, with the CEC helping to lead the discussions. The project was spurred in part by the construction of Moravec Hall, the new building on the Ivy Tech Community College – Columbus campus that is now part of the southwest corner of the Airpark campus.
Burnett noted that architect Kevin Kennon, who designed the Columbus Learning Center, pointed out that the changes made by Ivy Tech create a gap between the CLC and Moravec Hall.
“See the space on the southwest corner of the property?” said Burnet. “It’s 12 acres, and it’s a big space.”
He added that there was also a practical problem regarding access to the service area.
The coalition has a budget of $2.3 million for the southwest corner project. This includes $600,000 that was raised for design fees and construction administration, as well as the $1.7 million READI grant. The hope is that a contribution of $100,000 from the redevelopment commission will bring the project budget to $2.4 million. These funds would go to infrastructure, such as surveying and geotechnical work.
Development of the southwest corner project design is expected to begin soon. After that, the next phase is to create construction documents. The bidding process is expected to take place in February and March 2023, with construction beginning in April and continuing through September or October, according to Burnett.
He added that although design development has not yet taken place, most of the project will likely take place closer to the buildings, as Ivy Tech needs a new entrance and access to the building area. service is required for the CLC. The design will also have to work within their $2.3 or $2.4 million budget.
“We would all love to see the Ivy Tech parking lot which is right next to the corner of Central and Poshard – everyone would love to see that turned into green space,” Burnett said.