Ivy Tech plans to sell land in Franklin

Ivy Tech Community College — Columbus is planning to sell about 16 acres of land at its Franklin site to a commercial real estate management company and use the funds for Franklin campus improvements.

The Columbus Campus Board of Trustees approved a resolution Friday recommending that the state trustees approve the sale of about 15.9 acres of vacant land at the Franklin campus.

In a memo to staff, Chancellor Steven Combs said the state board will likely meet next month to consider this recommendation.

The resolution states that Sunbeam Development Corp., which owns and has developed nearby property, has offered $1.5 million for the land, and the campus board seeks to use the proceeds “for the benefit of the future of the Franklin campus.”

“These funds would create a repair-and-replacement reserve for the Franklin site, upgrade the Franklin building, conduct a campus master plan for the both Johnson and Shelby counties, and enhance programming at both locations,” said Combs in his memo.

Some of the funds might go toward the ongoing creation of a “brand-new advanced manufacturing training area for the two counties and possibly some collaboration with the high schools and C9,” Combs said. Minor campus improvements such as cleaning and landscaping are also potential uses of funds.

The property Sunbeam seeks to purchase is located south of the Franklin site at the corner of State Road 44 and Jim Black Road.

The land is not currently being used, but has been used in the past for “ag-related instruction” in the past, Combs said. However, he noted that after the sale, the college would still have about 10 acres to the east of the campus to do such instruction.

“They (Sunbeam) have a potential client for the land,” Combs said. “There would probably be a mixed-use of another facility to expand another building that they’ve built to the south of that property and probably some additional parking lot space as well.”

The Shelby and Johnson county campuses were recently added to Ivy Tech Columbus’s service area and are set to officially join July 1, according to campus officials. The Columbus campus is currently assigned to serve residents of four counties: Bartholomew, Decatur, Jackson and Jennings. Director of Marketing Chris Schilling said in December the service area reorganization is an effort to provide more support for Ivy Tech’s Franklin site.

Columbus looks forward to reuniting with the Franklin site and adding the two counties, Combs said.

“We want to thank the city of Franklin, who invested sums of money to help us build that site and I want them to be reassured … this $1.5 million will stay in their community,” he said Friday. “We are not bringing this money back to the Columbus site to do anything in Columbus. We want it to stay in Johnson County and continue to support higher education in their county and in Franklin.”