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Courtesy of Indiana Tech
This is an artist’s rendering of Indiana Tech’s 60,000-square-foot academic center, featuring a rotunda linking the two wings, that is expected to open in January 2015.

Tech plans $15 million building

Rising enrollment necessitates addition of classrooms, offices

Indiana Tech plans to build a new academic building on campus to address its increasing enrollment.

The school announced Tuesday its plans for an academic center north of Wilfred Uytengsu Sr. Center on the Fort Wayne campus.

The center will provide more classrooms and faculty offices, which university officials say are necessary as the university continues to attract more students and full-time professors.

“We’ve been very purposeful about developing academic programs and improving our campus to attract more students, and we’ve been successful in doing that,” Indiana Tech President Arthur E. Snyder said in a statement. “So successful, in fact, that we now need to add classroom space and other amenities that contribute to our learning environment.”

The university estimates the project will cost $15 million, and it hopes to raise half of that total before starting construction in May. It will take about 18 months to build the 60,000-square-foot center, which means it will be open for students in January 2015.

Indiana Tech spokeswoman Janet Schutte said the plans for the new center were first discussed about nine months ago.

“For a while there, getting the new law school off the ground was the priority,” she said. “This is our next challenge.”

The center will have two wings – the academic and the library wing – connected by a rotunda area with a multipurpose auditorium and theater, according to officials.

The rotunda will be used for gatherings, a café and space for art exhibitions, while the two-story auditorium and theater will be used for performances, presentations, seminars and lectures. Although the university currently has a movie theater, Schutte said the space isn’t ideal for those purposes.

The academic wing will have two stories plus an unfinished lower level to be completed as needed. The wing will house Indiana Tech’s fastest-growing college, the College of General Studies, and will include classrooms and labs for the School of Education and the Center for Criminal Sciences – two other fast-growing programs.

The academic wing also will have student study rooms and offices for administrators and faculty of the College of General Studies.

The library wing, which is also two levels, will have two state-of-the-art computer labs, space for books and library staff. It will also have technically enhanced areas for studying and a seminar room for video conferencing and other purposes.

The academic center is being designed by SchenkelShultz Architecture, and construction will be overseen by Michael Kinder & Sons, according to officials.

Indiana Tech, like several other local colleges and universities, has seen record-breaking enrollment in recent years. The private school’s total enrollment reached an all-time high of 5,437 in the fall of 2011.

In the past few years, the university has announced the creation of student housing and other buildings to address its growing numbers. Among the new buildings is Indiana Tech’s law school, slated to open in fall 2013.