Ivy Tech’s new campus to create more parking spaces, traffic still a concern
By Navar Watson
When Ivy Tech opens its Noblesville campus in two months, it has plans to ensure neighboring homes do not have unwanted guests parking in their driveways or cluttering traffic around the school.
Ivy Tech chancellor Dr. Kathleen Lee announced at a community meeting May 29 that the community college will be paving over the baseball field immediately west of Noblesville East Middle School to accommodate future students.
Parking plans and building development were the primary subjects of Lee’s presentation at NEMS, 300 N. 17th St., the future location of Ivy Tech’s Noblesville campus.
The Noblesville campus, which will be the 32nd Ivy Tech location in Indiana, will offer 75 programmed sections, or classes, in the fall with a maximum of 1,900 available seats.
Ivy Tech does not plan on removing any trees for parking space. The college is very “green oriented,” Lee said, and will be inserting rain gardens around the edges of the parking lot in order to distinguish its own space.
“We want folks to know when they’re on campus and when they’re not on campus,” Lee said. “We want to have a clear border.”
Noblesville City Engineer John Beery said “neighborhood parking only” signs will be put up in surrounding residential areas as well, notifying students not to park there.
With the new parking lot, Ivy Tech plans to construct another focal entrance to the school – where the cafeterias are now – in addition to using the school’s current main entrance, Lee said.
At the meeting, audience members raised concerns about traffic on Conner Street once classes are in session. Ivy Tech will solve its early traffic issues mainly through trial and error methods, Lee and Beery explained.
“We’re going to have to figure out what works for us,” Lee said, adding that the school can stagger class times to avoid traffic buildups if necessary.
Lee said Ivy Tech is also communicating with the Boys & Girls Club in order to ensure that weekend game times will not heavily conflict with class times. She said historically, Friday and Saturday night classes have not been popular sign-up times for students anyway.
Beery said the city has not looked at expanding any specific streets to improve traffic. They have, however, looked at “maybe doing some work” on 17th Street south of the campus as well as possibly adding a connector street east of the Conner Learning Center.
The city and Ivy Tech will hold more public meetings as updates come, Beery said.
“I’m looking forward to Ivy Tech,” 17th Street resident Martha Reep said. “We’re hoping they’ll have a little better upkeep.”
After Lee’s presentation, audience members asked if Ivy Tech would be keeping better maintenance and surveillance of the area surrounding the campus, which some residents said has been subject to neglect. Lee said Ivy Tech is working with the Noblesville Police Dept. and their own security on keeping the grounds clean and monitoring suspicious activity or student misbehavior.
“Ivy Tech takes excellent care of its campuses,” she said. “We pride ourselves on the way our campuses look. We figure our students can only do as well as the facility looks that they come to.”
With soon-to-be 32 degree-granting locations in Indiana, Ivy Tech is the largest singly accredited, statewide community college in the United States, serving approximately 200,000 students each year.
The Noblesville campus will be a full-service campus, Lee said, allowing students to sign up for classes, buy textbooks and accomplish other tasks without having to travel to the Indianapolis campus.
Other campuses in central Indiana are located in Indianapolis, Greencastle, Franklin and Lawrence.
Key dates for the Noblesville campus development include:
June 16: Parking lot construction begins
June 23: Ivy Tech gains access to the building
July 7: Staff arrives (including admissions, etc.)
Aug. 25: Fall semester begins