Just the beginning

 

Groundbreaking-70Following a year of strategic planning, the University of Indianapolis has embarked on a five-year, $50-million campus development plan to begin turning its more than two dozen “Vision 2030” initiatives into reality.
And it’s just the start.

Launched with a June groundbreaking for the 160,000-square-foot UIndy Health Pavilion, the development plan will enhance the University’s impact on students and neighbors and lay the groundwork for ongoing growth and improvements.

“The investments we’re making now will help us meet the challenges facing higher education more powerfully than ever before,” said President Robert Manuel. “We are committed to addressing issues of access and affordability, of relevance, of career preparation and job satisfaction. “We are constantly seeking that point at which the needs of our students and faculty, the needs of the University, and the needs of the community come together, and determining how best to meet them all.”

The plan marks the first phase of implementation of the Vision 2030 initiatives. Funding for the plan—in the form of an endowment loan that will not affect tuition costs—was approved by the Board of Trustees in February. The approval cleared the way for the work that began early this summer.

Changing the streetscape—and the educational landscape

While the development plan will leave its mark all across campus, the most immediately obvious impact will come to the southwest corner of Hanna Avenue and State Avenue, where construction began this summer on the new UIndy Health Pavilion. The four-story, L-shaped complex will bring together the University’s nationally recognized programs in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Kinesiology, Athletic Training, Psychology, and Social Work, as well as a health and wellness clinic.

But this is about much more than simply relocating programs into a new facility. UIndy intends to use this as an opportunity to change the instructional dynamic in these programs, enhance collaboration among disciplines, increase clinical opportunities, and provide a setting for meaningful research. Meanwhile, a medical clinic developed in conjunction with a healthcare organization and housed in the new building will give the community a resource for medical care. At the same time, the facility will enhance the streetscape, strengthening the campus’s visual appeal and likely stimulating development along Hanna Avenue. In fact, the community leader partnering with UIndy expects the building, designed by CSO Architects, to become a new campus landmark.

“In the future, this will be the building people think of when they talk of UIndy,” said Gene Zink, chair and CEO of Strategic Capital Partners, the Indianapolis real estate development firm selected to build the Health Pavilion. “This will be a new entrance to the campus, and it will house these amazing schools.” Another change soon will be visible on Shelby Street, when aging campus apartments are replaced with new student housing. Meanwhile, the Krannert Memorial Library will receive a makeover that will include technology improvements and additional space for collaborations. In addition, biology, chemistry, and physics labs will be expanded and upgraded.

Preparing students for careers & enhancing the campus experience

Changes in curriculum, advising, professional development, and co-curricular activities will add to the ongoing efforts to enhance the UIndy student experience. To ensure that students have the best possible academic experience, new faculty are being hired in developing and expanding academic areas. UIndy is pursuing and encouraging new teaching, learning, and career development strategies as a means to enhance student preparation and marketability. As part of this effort, UIndy is investing in programs that will help students launch their careers. The centerpiece is the Professional Edge Center. An innovative approach to developing students’ confidence and professionalism and helping them build relationships, the Center (page 18) links them to alumni and other professionals in their chosen field for internships, networking, and career opportunities. The five-year plan also includes initiatives aimed at campus life. Two key examples: UIndy will create the state’s first NCAA Division II men’s and women’s lacrosse teams and establish a UIndy marching band.

“This plan is comprehensive and aspirational,” said Board of Trustees Chair Tom Martin. “The pieces all fit together beautifully in a way that makes a great deal of sense and positions the University for distinction. The Board was impressed by how well everything was thought out. It is truly transformational.”

Strengthening the community

From its earliest days, UIndy has taken seriously its role as an anchor institution, and the five-year strategic plan puts a new emphasis on that role. The UIndy Health Pavilion also will include roughly 30,000 square feet leased by healthcare partners to provide general and specialized healthcare services. The Health Pavilion will be particularly beneficial to residents in the area surrounding UIndy’s campus. With eight census tracts around the University designated as “medically underserved,” the center will provide truly needed services including primary care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training, social work, and mental health care, that will be available through an existing clinic that will be relocated. The healthcare partners also will engage in research, new program development, and community health education. A key focus will be health disparities, a field in which UIndy is launching a new master’s in public health program this fall.

“The collaborative possibilities extend beyond learning and into research and service opportunities as well,” said Stephanie Kelly, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “Students in our new Master of Public Health program, for example, will be able to study health disparities right in their backyard as well as globally.” Anne Thomas, dean of the School of Nursing, noted that the national Institute of Medicine recommends an integrated team approach to care in hospitals and other settings. “One of the best ways to encourage that is to promote interdisciplinary work while students are still in their educational programs,” Thomas said. “The Health Pavilion will facilitate those kinds of interactions for nursing students across our undergraduate and graduate programming.”

Another community asset has already begun to take shape but soon will be enhanced. The University will transform an empty lot into a one-acre University Heights Park in an area with few public green spaces. UIndy students will work with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and residents from the University Heights Neighborhood Association to create a park shelter and walking paths. Newly planted trees and native plants and grasses will create a natural wildlife habitat. The park will serve as an outdoor lab for students in biology and related fields and provide a place for students, faculty, and the community to gather, relax, and play. “I’ve been involved in economic development in Indianapolis for 35 years. We’ve built hundreds of buildings, but never had the opportunity to build inside the inner loop on the Southside. Not till Rob Manuel,” Zink said.
“He wants UIndy to be not an island, but a beacon. He’s changing not only the University, but also the community.”

Last spring, this vision of community impact created by the UIndy Health Pavilion and University Heights Park received a $1-million boost from the City of Indianapolis in the form of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant. Of that amount, $900,000 will be used to equip the health center with patient-care equipment such as specialized treadmills, gait- and movement-tracking systems, and an escalator for mobility training. The University Heights Park will benefit from $100,000 in development funds. “As I said during my 2014 State of the City address at UIndy, ‘great neighborhoods comprise great people and great institutions,’” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. “The City appreciates UIndy’s commitment to improving its campus and making the surrounding area an even more attractive place for people to live.”

Preparing for more growth

As transformative as the five-year strategic plan will be, more program expansion and development is in UIndy’s future. As President Manuel said in a note to alumni in the spring, the enhancements and expansions made now “lay the groundwork for additional investments in scholarship, research, endowed positions, and other innovations that will ensure a secure future for this institution, elevate its reputation,
and further increase the value of your degree.”

In other words, it’s just the beginning.

Photo: From left: Virginia Cain, Regional Director, Senator Dan Coats’s Office; Jeff Bryant, Chair, UIndy Department of Social Work; Deborah Balogh, UIndy Executive Vice President & Provost; Dan Yates, Chair, R. B. Annis Educational Foundation; Jefferson Shreve, City-County Council; Adam Theis, Director, Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development; Greg Ballard, Indianapolis Mayor; Robert L. Manuel, UIndy President; Thomas Martin, Chair, UIndy Board of Trustees; Gene Zink, Chair & CEO, Strategic Capital Partners LLC; Yvonne Shaheen, Vice Chair, UIndy Board of Trustees; Justin Moed, Representative, Indiana House; Ellen Miller, UIndy Interim Associate Provost; Stephanie Kelly, Dean, UIndy College of Health Sciences; Quin Starks, University Heights Neighborhood Association

The UIndy Health Pavilion

The five-year plan plan includes renovating Krannert Memorial Library; expanding and upgrading science labs; replacing student apartments; restructuring career development and advising services; adding faculty and staff for new academic programs; launching the state’s first NCAA Division II men’s and women’s lacrosse teams; and forming a marching band. The health center at a glance:
—Four stories, 160,000 square feet
—Opening August 2015
—Total cost: $28 million
—New home for programs in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, kinesiology, athletic training, and social work
—Clinical facilities and healthcare industry partners
—Auditorium and event space
—Café, outdoor plaza, rooftop terrace

President Manuel appeared on “Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick” to discuss UIndy’s five-year, $50-million development plan, most notably the UIndy Health Pavilion that began construction this summer. You can find the segment at uindy.edu/strategic.