Higher ed gets a boost | News


Vigo County colleges have received approval for $5 million in federally funded READI grants for projects that include growing the healthcare workforce and increasing early childhood education opportunities.

The grants also will help relocate Rose-Hulman Ventures and expand Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College equestrian facilities to promote local tourism.

Ivy Tech Terre Haute, Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and SMWC each will benefit from grants, it was announced by the Wabash River Regional Development Authority last month.

There is a matching fund requirement, and the next step is a phased submission process for approval by the Indiana Economic Development Corp., said Greg Goode, president of the Wabash River RDA.

A total of 24 Wabash Valley projects have been identified to receive $20 million in grants through the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative program, which is run by the state and uses federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Grants are as follows:

• Ivy Tech: $1 million for diversity initiatives and to renovate/expand health science facilities.

• Indiana State: $1 million to renovate the Chestnut Building on the main campus for increased capacity and opportunities at ISU’s Early Childhood Education Center, which would eventually relocate there.

• Rose-Hulman: $1.5 million to relocate Rose-Hulman Ventures. The facility is currently six miles off campus. Rose-Hulman will construct a new facility for Ventures at the corner of Indiana 46 and Indiana 42, property acquired by the institute from the Hulman family.

• SMWC: $1.5 million to expand its equestrian and athletic facilities in an effort to expand West Central Indiana region tourism opportunities.

Ivy Tech Terre Haute

The $1 million in READI funding will benefit the School of Health Sciences renovation project, particularly Phase III, which involves the following programs: imaging sciences, healthcare specialist, medical laboratory technology, surgical technology and medical assisting.

The overall renovation project has already been funded by several supporters in the community, and the READI funding will take it to the next phase, said Lea Anne Crooks, Ivy Tech Terre Haute chancellor.

Ivy Tech locally has nine health science programs that also include respiratory therapy and paramedic science.

Classrooms have been small, and in many cases, labs are also located in those classrooms.

Higher ed gets a boost

Image courtesy of Ivy Tech Community CollegeLarger learning area: Renovation of Ivy Tech health science facilities is ongoing, and a $1 million READI grant will assist the college in continuing that phased renovation. This rendering show’s a renovated paramedic science classroom.

Deanna King, vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the READI grant will help the college expand its health science programs.

“We’ve been able to do wonderful things with what we have,” King said. “This will allow us to take it to the next level. It will allow us to expand space. In some limited enrollment programs, it will allow more students to be admitted.”

She stood in space under renovation for respiratory therapy. The lab and classroom have been in the same space; the renovation will separate the two and enlarge the lab.

The overall renovation will bring health science programs together, enabling programs to be more interactive.

The second focus of READI funding relates to diversity, equity and belonging initiatives.

“As a community college, we know it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re serving all potential students in our community,” Crooks said. Funds would be used to provide additional services and support beyond what is already in place.

It’s anticipated funding would be used in part to create a full-time position, someone who would work with the community and organizations to reach diverse communities.

Indiana State University

The $1 million grant to ISU would be used to renovate the Chestnut Building, located at 749 Chestnut on the main campus, for increased capacity and opportunities at ISU’s Early Childhood Education Center.

The center is currently located in University Apartment facilities at Third and Farrington streets and would be relocated.

The center, affiliated with the ISU Bayh College of Education, operates two licensed childcare facilities, with a capacity of 86 total children. It provides direct care (childcare) and preschool for children from 6 weeks to 5 years.

It also provides an opportunity for pre-service teachers and other undergraduate and graduate students to complete practicum, observation, and field placement requirements, to enhance their skills in working with children and families.

Improved facilities will allow the center to expand those offerings, including child care for families.

Early education and access to high quality early learning programs are a driving force in economic development, said Holly Curtsinger, center director.

When businesses recruit for vacancies, the candidates often have families and need quality child care. “We know that capacity is lacking throughout the Wabash Valley, particularly with providers serving infants and toddlers — and we are thrilled to have the opportunity” to better address that need, Curtsinger said.

The existing early childhood center is in an older facility, said Brad Balch, dean of ISU’s Bayh College of Education. “It doesn’t meet our needs, and most generally we have a long waiting list in all of our programs,” he said.

It will be a multi-million project, and ISU will seek additional funding from other sources. Many details have yet to be ironed out, and discussions are slated to take place this month to develop a timeline and next steps.

The additional square footage potentially could allow the program to provide drop-off services, in which families could drop off young children for a few hours, Balch said.

For future educators, the center “is a rich proving ground for those early field experiences for our students,” he said. Having the center relocate to the main campus “we hope opens up even more potential for other programs” across campus.


Rose-Hulman has been awarded $1.5 million to relocate Rose-Hulman Ventures to the corner of Indiana 46 and Indiana 42, which is now part of its main campus. Currently, Ventures is located six miles from campus.

Ventures is Rose-Hulman’s engineering consulting and business development arm. It prides itself on “creative specialists who love to turn great ideas into reality.”

“The READI grant is the first stage of funding for that project,” said Rob Coons, Rose-Hulman president. “Our hope is that it creates an opportunity to grow it slightly.”

Rose-Hulman is pleased with the experience students have at Ventures, he said. This summer, 53 interns are working there full-time.

“But during the academic year, it’s a little more challenging for them to get out to Ventures because the curriculum and our schedule is so intense,” Coons said. By bringing it closer and to campus, “Students will have easier access and perhaps other faculty will have additional access as well.”

Higher ed gets a boost

Tribune-Star file/Joseph C. GarzaMoving Ventures: A $1.5 million READI grant was awarded to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to relocate Rose-Hulman Ventures to its main campus, seen here on Thursday, June 23.

The college is working on other funding sources for the project, which Coons says is in the $8 million to $10 million range and currently under design.

Rose-Hulman is working on U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding and “we do have a few donors especially interested in this concept,” he said.

The college hopes to create space along Indiana 42 for an “innovation area where we can do a number of things from an entrepreneurial perspective,” Coons said. “We have more and more of our students interested in entrepreneurship, and we think using Ventures as the anchor for that kind of activity presents some nice opportunities for us.”

The goal is to break ground sometime before or during the college’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2024.


The Woods was awarded $1.5 million to expand its equestrian and athletic facilities.

“The majority of funds would be used to enhance and expand our equine event spaces. Our goal is to a enhance tourism in the West Central Indiana region,” said Karen Dyer, SMWC vice president for advancement and strategic initiatives.

Plans for the funds include updating the existing outdoor and indoor equine arenas, expanding parking for horse trailers, creating a pasture management system and improving equine event amenities to attract a new level of collegiate and non-collegial state and regional competition.

“Indiana’s horse industry is worth over $3 billion and horse show opportunities continue to rise,” said B.J. Riley, the college’s director of marketing. “With the upgrade to the arena, SMWC and Terre Haute will have the opportunity to host some of those shows,” bringing visitors who would frequent local hotels, restaurants and retail establishments.

A portion of the funds will also be used to enhance the north athletic campus with the addition of a new sprint football practice field. The creation of the field would also enable the college to draw in new middle and high school competitions, bringing additional tourism opportunities.

The field would be regulation size and could be used by any football team, Riley said.

Higher ed gets a boost

Tribune-Star file/Joseph C. Garza Riding skills on display: Hannah Rogers of Worthington guides her horse, Cookie, around a barrel during a show for family and friends as part of the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s equine summer camp on June 18, 2021 in the outdoor arena near the program’s stables. The college was awarded a $1.5 million READI grant to expand its equestrian and athletic facilities.

Dyer noted that all four colleges were awarded READI grants. “I think that’s significant. The colleges have been trying to say that Terre Haute is a college town, and we’d like Terre Haute to own itself as a college town,” she said.

The four colleges collectively have more than 20,000 students (a figure that includes Ivy Tech’s Greencastle campus), officials state.

“They bring so much,” Dyer said. Many of them are from West Central Indiana.

“Those students help drive the economy of our community, and of course, those of us who work at the colleges are part of the local economy as well,” Dyer said. “We think collectively the colleges have something to offer our community,” contributing to its growth, quality of place and tourism.

The grant matching requirement is 2-1 for the public universities (university-generated funds to READI dollars) and 3-1 for the non-profit independent colleges (nonprofit college-generated funds to READI dollars), Goode said.

“I believe we may have some flexibility for non profit organizations — we are still working through that with the IEDC,” he said. A plan identifying matching dollars must be in place and presented to the local RDA no later than mid-year 2024. The RDA then submits the project to the state.

READI funding must be spent by 2026.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at [email protected] Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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