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Life sciences training gets a home

Indiana Center for the Life Sciences to hold classes in January

By Nicole Brooks 331-4232 |
October 30, 2008

Indiana Center for Life Sciences

Interior shot
Ty Deckard with Crown Electric works Tuesday inside the Center for the Life Sciences’ manufacturing suite. The large room can be outfitted to mimic a real-world manufacturing facility, for training and education.

Monroe County is preparing a breeding ground for jobs in the life sciences, touted by many as an industry that will have a major impact on the country’s economic future.

After a year of construction, the Ivy Tech Community College Indiana Center for the Life Sciences building at Profile Parkway and Zenith Drive is six weeks away from completion and set to hold classes in January. Ivy Tech students will study in biology and chemistry labs just down the hall from the people who may one day be their co-workers and bosses.

Chancellor John Whikehart on Tuesday hosted a hard-hat tour of the building, which will pair student learning with employee training in its manufacturing suite. The 20,000- square-foot building’s four laboratories, three classrooms and suite aim to educate both students and local employees in need of additional training.

“This building will prepare 1,200 to 1,500 people looking for biotech jobs in the next year,” said Barry Lessow, president of the Monroe County Redevelopment Commission, which has authority over the TIF district which provided the $5 million bond issue to finance the center.

Ron Walker, president of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp., said Indiana is ahead of the curve when it comes to jobs in the life sciences, with six times the national average in life sciences jobs.

The center’s industry partners, Cook Inc., Cook Pharmica, BioConvergence, Boston Scientific and Baxter, will bring in equipment and use the suite to train present and future employees. The space will be useful because normal production in their own facilities will not be forced to stop to make space for training, Whikehart said. He added that the suite is much like Ivy Tech’s nursing labs — both replicate real world facilities.

Ivy Tech has created two new degree programs that tie in with the center, advanced manufacturing and the regulatory affairs certificate, which will train people on federal Food and Drug Administration regulations.

The center is less than a mile from the main campus building at 200 Daniels Way, and Whikehart said a shuttle bus will run between the two facilities. A walking and biking path connecting the two may not be possible, he said, because the land between them is own by a family that raises cattle on the property.

Learn more about the center at