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Former ATA campus set to find new use as classroom

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The former ATA Airlines Inc. headquarters in Indianapolis is expected to show signs of life next month for the first time in four years.

Ivy Tech Community College will begin offering accounting, business, criminal justice and information technology classes at the former airline campus, at 7337 W. Washington St., on the northern edge of Indianapolis International Airport.

Airport and Ivy Tech officials nearly a year ago announced plans for the site’s reuse, emphasizing the potential to tailor curriculum relevant to the region’s logistics industry. 

Warehouse and transportation firms frequently complain they cannot find enough qualified workers.

For now, the business courses will include material applicable to the logistics industry.

“We’ll eventually, over time, flesh out our logistics program,” said Ivy Tech interim chancellor Kathleen Lee.

The community college has been working on curriculum with input from Conexus Indiana, said David Holt, a vice president of the logistics and advanced manufacturing group.

Ivy Tech is leasing 19,615 square feet at the ex-ATA facility.  All but a laboratory will be completed before the semester begins Aug. 20, Lee said.

The 16.5-acre site, at the southwest corner of Washington Street and Girls School Road, has three buildings, two of them designed for office use and a third for office and warehouse uses. Together, they make up about 123,000 square feet.

For several months, Ivy Tech has been offering commercial driver training at the site.

Lee said the ATA site will take the place of space at Ben Davis High School, where about 1,000 Ivy Tech students take courses mostly during the evening. 

One advantage of the airport site is that Ivy Tech can operate it six days a week and during the day as well as evening.

The community college also plans to reach out to potentially underserved students who live near the airport, Lee said.  A walk-in “storefront” at the Ivy Tech airport campus will provide information to prospective students.

Indianapolis International is home to a number of logistics-related firms, including the No. 2 domestic cargo hub of FedEx. Just to the west, in Plainfield, are hundreds of warehousing and trucking operations.

ATA, founded in the 1970s by Latvian immigrant George Mikelsons, grew to be the nation’s 10th-largest scheduled passenger airline. It ceased operations in April 2008.

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