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Ivy Tech gets $23M to renovate old Stouffer's Hotel building

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Ivy Tech Foundation has received a $22.9 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to buy and renovate the former Stouffer’s Hotel at 2820 N. Meridian St.

The 13-floor, 196,000-square-foot building, which sits just north of Ivy Tech Community College’s Indianapolis campus along Fall Creek Parkway, will house Ivy Tech’s workforce-training programs, and distance-education and administrative offices.

The grant is the largest ever received by the Ivy Tech Foundation.

Space is short at the Indianapolis campus as enrollment has nearly doubled in the past five years to 22,400. The recent recession sent adults flooding into Ivy Tech’s campuses around the state seeking new skills.

“The dramatic growth in Ivy Tech’s enrollment demonstrates that Indiana residents understand that education is critical to their future. The new space should significantly help Ivy Tech in the accomplishment of its important educational aims,” said Sara Cobb, vice president for education at the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, in a written statement.

Ivy Tech is already expanding classroom space on its Indianapolis campus on the site of the former St. Vincent Hospital on Fall Creek Parkway. That new building, with the old hospital façade intact, will open in 2012.

The old Stouffer's Hotel opened in 1965 on the site of the former Stokely-Van Camp mansion. Elvis Presley stayed in one of its 300 guest rooms in 1977 when he performed his final concert, at Market Square Arena.

The building ceased operating as a hotel in the late-1980s and a few years later began housing a training center as part of the Christian ministry Institute for Basic Life Principles, run by Bill Gothard.

Now, Ivy Tech will renovate the building and dub it the Indiana Center for Workforce Solutions. Ivy Tech estimates the center will be able to accommodate training for 25,000 individuals a year and host meetings and events for more than 300 organizations.

The timeline for the renovations is still being worked out. But Ivy Tech wants to focus the facility on programs that train or retrain workers for the health care, life sciences, information technology, advanced manufacturing, logistics, hospitality and energy industries.

Also, the center will help with resume writing, interviewing, and soft-skills training for displaced workers.

“There will be resources for displaced workers looking for a career change along with programming and training for the incumbent workforce to help companies become as competitive as possible,” said Ivy Tech President Tom Snyder in a written statement.  “We also see a corporate environment where managers and executives can receive training to ensure optimal efficiency for their companies.”

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