NOBLESVILLE — Columbus’ architectural legacy is adding a new chapter.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education has unanimously approved Indiana University’s proposed master’s program for architecture, which involves the classes being taught at the IU Center for Art + Design Columbus.

The program is expected to start in the fall of 2018 with about 20 graduate students, and as many as 40 enrolled in subsequent years, said Lauren Robel, IU provost and executive vice president.

Students will utilize in their studies the city’s more than 65 examples of Modern architecture that include the works of renowned architects such as I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Kevin Roche and Harry Weese.  Their works have brought international recognition to the city and are popular tourist attractions.

Approval came Thursday during the education commission’s meeting at the Ivy Tech Community College campus in Noblesville.

“This will be an excellent and innovative program that will be wonderful for our students and also wonderful for our partnership with Columbus,” Robel said.

Columbus education and government leaders were pleased with the decision and the ability for the program to move forward.

“I’m excited and grateful — grateful because so many people worked so hard to make this happen,” said John Burnett, president and CEO of the Columbus-based Community Education Coalition.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

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Kirk Johannesen is assistant managing editor of The Republic. He can be reached at johannesen@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5639.