When John Whikehart woke up for the dedication of Ivy Tech Bloomington’s new building at Daniels Way, he knew it was the beginning of something special.
“I remember that morning, getting up at about 4 o’clock and sitting out on my front porch drinking coffee, watching the sun come up, thinking about what a glorious day it was going to be,” the former chancellor said recently.
It ended up being a glorious 15 years for Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington. In that time, annual enrollment has grown from about 4,000 students to about 10,500. More than 1,000 degrees and certificates were conferred last spring, compared with less than 400 the year after the building at Daniels Way opened.
Not all of that growth can be attributed to the building, but considering Ivy Tech Bloomington’s accommodations prior to 2002, it’s clear the new facility made a difference.
Ivy Tech was founded in 1963 as Indiana Vocational Technical College. The Bloomington program began in the late 1960s, offering practical nursing courses in a former doctor’s office near Bloomington Hospital.
Outgrowing that location, it moved to the former Bloomington Courier-Tribune newspaper plant along Curry Pike.
For about two decades, beginning in the early 1980s, classes were offered in the Westbury Village complex off Arlington Road. But by the late 1990s, the converted retail space was no longer adequate.
“It was really awful,” said Jennie Vaughan, Ivy Tech Bloomington chancellor. “There was water in different buildings. Rodents. It wasn’t conducive to student learning.”
At the time, Vaughan worked in the registrar’s office, which was a converted women’s restroom in the basement of a building. Situations like that affected people’s perceptions.