Ivy Tech Hamilton County recently celebrated its first anniversary. Chancellor Stacy Atkinson said the campus enjoyed success and encountered challenges in its inaugural year. The biggest challenge of all happened years before the campus even opened.
In 2014, Hamilton County Commissioners worked with then-State Sen. Luke Kenley, the City of Noblesville, Noblesville Schools and the Hamilton County Council to create a plan for the county to purchase the then-Noblesville High School at 300 N. 17th St. for $12 million. The purchase would allow Noblesville Schools to build a larger high school to accommodate growth at 18111 Cumberland Rd. The former high school could be used as a community college campus. The vote narrowly passed the Hamilton County Council, 4-3.
“We wouldn’t have Ivy Tech (without purchasing the former school),” Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt said. “Nobody realizes what had to happen at that time to be able to get this school in there.”
Heirbrandt said the commissioners won several awards from the Indiana Association for County Commissioners for the collaboration. Ivy Tech’s campus in Hamilton County then served as a satellite campus until July 2021, when it transitioned into an independent campus, which allowed for the campus to have its own chancellor and expanded programs.
Heirbrandt said the plan for purchasing the building was always to turn it into a community college campus that could then feed the Hamilton County workforce.
“As a commissioner, it’s definitely one of the top projects that people don’t talk about. We had a hand in making it happen,” Heirbrandt said. “To be able to watch that graduation and see the impact it has made on the people that have gotten their education there and then seeing them go out and prosper in the work environment, especially here in Hamilton County where we have been able to retain several of these folks that graduated, is certainly something to be proud of.”
In its first year, the campus has grown from 16 employees to 48 employees. Atkinson said one of the campus’ significant upcoming projects is constructing a health care lab to expand medical degree and certification offerings.
“We really are going to focus next year on health care expansion for us from zero to whatever it becomes,” Atkinson said. “So, we are going to really look at adding more programs every year as they become more in demand. Health care is one of those things we are looking into for sure.”
As of July 8, Hamilton County had more than 1,400 open jobs in the health care sector according to Invest Hamilton County. This is an increase of 16 percent from 2021.
When it became an independent campus, Ivy Tech Hamilton County went from offering two degree/certification programs to 19. Enrollment exceeded goals by 40 percent. And 44 students graduated May 21 in the first commencement.
Atkinson said finding enough space is an ongoing challenge.
“Space became an issue very quickly. It’s a deceptive-looking building,” said Atkinson, a Westfield resident. “People look at it and think you have all this space. You do until you have 1,000 students and 48 employees. There were no conference rooms, so we had to make a conference room. It was a new campus, so we had to navigate our way through an entire year of firsts. I’m really proud of where we are.”
List of programs offered at Ivy Tech Hamilton County
Ivy Tech Hamilton County offers a variety of programs for certificates or associate’s degrees.
Certificate programs include:
Addiction studies, professionalism in corrections, professionalism in policing, pre-nursing studies, certified nursing aid, medical assisting, building construction management specialist, carpentry specialist, electrical specialist, maintenance and light repair, automotive service technology, welding, early childhood education, education, general studies, Indiana College Core, business administration, global workforce skills, human resource management, insurance, supply chain management/logistics, professional bookkeeping and payroll, software development, cyber security/information assurance and website design.
Associate’s degree programs include:
Human services, criminal justice, legal studies/paralegal studies, medical assisting, building construction technology, early childhood education, education, general studies, liberal arts, psychology, secondary education in biology, secondary education in mathematics, business administration, software development and cyber security/information assurance.