Noblesville voters weigh in next month on a $28 million school referendum that would fund building renovations intended to accommodate a growing student body—and clear the way for Ivy Tech Community College to establish a regional campus in the Hamilton County seat.
“This is a wonderful opportunity,” school board Secretary Julia Kozicki said during a public meeting Tuesday evening. “But all the dominoes have to fall.”
Plans call for expanding Noblesville High School to make room for freshmen, who have been attending classes in a separate building. The current Freshman Campus then would become the new Noblesville East Middle School, replacing an aging facility the district says no longer meets its needs.
But Ivy Tech sees potential in the 250,000-square-foot building, and plans are in place—assuming the dominoes indeed fall—to open a community college campus there by fall 2014 (after about $15 million in renovations of its own).
Hamilton County and the city of Noblesville already have agreed to contribute as much as $19.5 million to buy the middle school property and pay for a portion of the repairs. The parties are seeking state funding to cover the balance.
Ivy Tech, in turn, would agree to lease the building for at least 20 years, paying only nominal rent as long as the property remains a community college campus.
The deal would allow Noblesville Schools to unload an aging facility and apply the $14.5 million sale price to its $39.5 million capital projects plan. But Kozicki said an Ivy Tech campus in Noblesville also would benefit the community, providing another educational option for students of all ages.
If the referendum fails, school officials will have to find another way to pay the freight—and Ivy Tech will have to look elsewhere for a Hamilton County site.