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Amanda J. Billings
Executive Director of Marketing and Communications
Phone: (812) 330-6222
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This Story is provided by The Herald Times

West-side Y would have major benefits for community, Ivy Tech

Our Opinion

August 2, 2009

If all the details can be worked out, Ivy Tech Community College and the Monroe County YMCA will build a major benefit for residents and workers on Bloomington’s west side.

John Whikehart of Ivy Tech and Roberta Kelzer of the YMCA announced last Wednesday the planned partnership for a fitness and day care center on land owned by the community college.
The plan has many strengths and no visible weaknesses.

It will give the YMCA a location significantly west and north of its current facility on the southeast side of Bloomington. The new site will serve people who have had to cross the city or go around it to get to the current Y; or have chosen not to go at all because it’s too far away. It will make it easier for those people to keep their bodies and minds fit.

The facility also will provide easy access to fitness opportunities to the employees of the many companies in the area. Those employees also will have access to quality child care close to their work places.
Standing to benefit in the most ways are Ivy Tech’s students, faculty and staff members.

First, they will have a wellness and recreation center nearby.

Second, the opportunity for convenient day care pushes aside one obstacle to many young people who want to continue their education. The day care center part of the plan is a huge benefit to Ivy Tech.

Third, students and faculty in some Ivy Tech programs — early childhood education, for example — will get the chance to work off campus on lessons they may have discussed in a classroom. Other students could work at internships or in volunteer positions in the new Y.

Whikehart sees the benefits clearly.

“This is a unique opportunity for our students, staff and employees to have access to a facility that would offer child care, wellness programs, classroom space, internship opportunities and a clinical site for our life and health sciences programs,” he said last week.

The project also further’s Ivy Tech’s commitment to civic engagement, which Whikehart has described as a three-legged stool: promotion of volunteerism for individuals, integration of service learning into the teaching curriculum and use of institutional resources to engage, serve and enhance the community. This project does all three.

Without asking taxpayers to finance a new building — the YMCA board eventually will seek community financial support for the project — Ivy Tech will have access for its students to more learning opportunities, more wellness and recreational opportunities, even more classroom space.

While many steps still need to be taken, the road to this project is one lined with great promise. We congratulate the YMCA and Ivy Tech for working together to try to make it happen.