Ivy Tech merges 2 S. Ind. regions in cost-cutting

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -  Ivy Tech Community College has merged its Bloomington and Southwest regions in its fourth such consolidation in 10 months as its cuts costs to close a $68 million deficit, the statewide system announced Monday.

The latest merger, coming on the heels of consolidations in eastern and southwestern Indiana last month, was made possible by the retirement of former Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart earlier this year and the retirement at the end of this month of Southwest region Chancellor Daniel Schenk from the Southwest region, which includes campuses in Evansville and Tell City, the system said. The Bloomington region includes a campus in Bedford.

The merger reduces the number of regional chancellors for the 175,000-student system to 10, from 14 a year ago.

The Ivy Tech board last month announced the consolidation of its Columbus and Southeast regions and that of its East Central and Richmond regions. It said then that it expected the savings from the consolidations would allow it to achieve a previously announced $4 million budget reversion to state coffers and to add a limited number of advisers and full-time faculty

Ivy Tech merged its Northwest and North Central regions last April and raised tuition by $5 per credit hour through the 2014-15 academic year.

The Ivy Tech board voted Thursday to approve the Bloomington-Southwest consolidation. Lee Marchant, Bloomington's representative on the board, told The (Bloomington) Herald-Times then that the merger was a "natural fit" because the Defense Department's Crane Naval Weapons Support Center lies between the two cities and along Interstate 69, which is being expanded to link Evansville with Bloomington and Indianapolis.

"Without I-69, I don't know if this would have been feasible or not," Marchant said of the highway, which has been completed from Evansville to just south of Bloomington.

The two campuses, which lie about 100 miles apart, both enroll about 10,000 students.

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