Columbus’ many fine examples of Modern architecture have contributed to great experiences for tourists and those who work in the field. But Columbus is poised to take it one step further and become a living laboratory for architectural students.

Indiana University is using the city to help expand its course offerings and intends to capitalize on the Indiana University Center for Art and Design Columbus to do so.

The university is trying to launch a master’s of architecture degree. It would be offered through the IU School of Art and Design and administered and taught at IUCA+D Columbus.

Indiana Department of Workforce Development projections show that employment of architects is expected to grow by more than 20 percent through 2022, so a need exists for new architects.

Final approval still must be granted by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, but if approved this would be a home run for the city.

Students would be in town studying the creations of I.M. Pei, Eero and Eliel Saarinen, Cesar Pelli and Harry Weese, among others. First Christian Church, the Miller House and Garden, and North Christian Church would serve as classrooms of sorts in the community.

In the process, the program would make terrific use of local resources, including IUCA+D, and bring more exposure to the city and its architectural gems.

The Community Education Coalition is to be commended for its efforts to make this degree program a possibility. It contacted IU and urged the school to start a master’s of architecture program.

The Commission for Higher Education would be wise to approve the degree program. The opportunity for students to use one of the nation’s most significant cities for Modern architecture as a living laboratory would provide a valuable experience and help meet the growing needs of the field.