A feasibility study on the creation of a 2,000-student Ivy Tech Community College campus in Frankfort is expected to begin next week.
The goal is to bring the community college to a location somewhere between the downtown area and Interstate 65, with much of the emphasis being on downtown.
The issue has been discussed quietly among community leaders for some time, but at a Clinton County Chamber of Commerce community forum Thursday, it was one of the hot topics of discussion and received enthusiastic support.
Chamber Board President Barth Hendrickson said approximately 700 Clinton County residents attend Ivy Tech classes in Lebanon. Combined with students from surrounding counties, he said a 2,000 student campus complex is not unrealistic.
The cost of the study, approximately $12,000, is being paid by the Clinton County Economic Advancement Foundation and the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce. CCEAF is putting up most of the cost – $10,000.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about ‘let’s put them in this old building, or let’s put them in that building.’ We really need a professional firm to kind of think outside the box and cover all the details,” said Stan Smith of CCEAF. “We’re talking about something major that could relocate some housing, relocate some government, and relocate some businesses.”
Smith described the feasibility study as a “first step,” and few specifics were discussed.
The biggest question would be location. Some of the general requirements would be at least 20,000 square feet of building space and adequate parking to accommodate the students.
One of the goals would be to create movement between the campus and local businesses, such as downtown restaurants and gas stations.
“I think Ivy Tech is a fantastic opportunity,” Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes said.
The study is being performed by Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Inc., an Indianapolis architectural firm. Smith said the contract to perform the study was signed last week.