Indiana University

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Last modified: Friday, June 10, 2011

IU welcomes new advanced manufacturing center in Columbus

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June 10, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie joined a host of university and community leaders today (June 10) in formally dedicating Columbus' new Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, a state-of-the-art, 43,000-square-foot facility that will house a combination of education, workforce and business development programs aimed at strengthening the productivity and competiveness of the manufacturing sector in southeastern Indiana.

The new facility, located at 4444 Kelly St., will be shared by Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC), Ivy Tech Community College and the Purdue College of Technology and will offer an array of programs designed to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, commonly known as STEM. It will provide laboratory space, tools and resources that address specific manufacturing education and training-related needs in the local community.

McRobbie said the new center represents the "next generation of collaboration" in Columbus, linking the state's public institutions of higher education with community members, civic organizations, private industry and charitable foundations in support of educational and economic development.

"The spirit of collaboration and commitment out of which this center has grown will continue to fuel its success with a close alignment between educational opportunities and regional economic needs," McRobbie said.

IU, Purdue University and Ivy Tech follow a similar model of collaboration in the Columbus Learning Center, dedicated in 2005 and home to classrooms, laboratories and support services for students of all three institutions.

Additionally, IU and Purdue have recently worked together toward developing a new, four-year mechanical engineering degree program at IUPUC, and last December IU announced a partnership with the Community Education Coalition of Columbus to establish a center in downtown Columbus that will specialize in teaching art and design. The IU design arts center, which is expected to open this fall, will offer courses for degree-seeking students in such fields as graphics design, interior design and fashion design. Through the new center, IU hopes to take advantage of Columbus' renowned architectural heritage and strong commitment to the arts.

"Indiana University has had a long and productive presence in Columbus, a presence that has, as its foundation, this city's great belief in the power of education," McRobbie said. "That presence includes the IU center focused on art and design here in Columbus, which we announced last winter, made possible through the generosity of the citizens of Columbus. We greatly look forward to the center's opening this fall with programs that draw upon the great strengths and unique assets of this wonderful city."

Designed by acclaimed Argentine-American architect Cesar Pelli, the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence was funded by a portion of a $38 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Community Education Coalition of Columbus and Heritage Fund-the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County. The center is part of a broader initiative to advance manufacturing education in southeastern Indiana, which has two and a half times the concentration of production and engineering occupations than can be found within other U.S. regions, according to recent figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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