Ivy Tech Community College-Northeast announced plans Friday to take over day-to-day operations of a south-side public safety training center that had lagged behind expectations and become a financial burden for the city.
Ivy Tech will expand its presence at the Public Safety Academy of Northeast Indiana, in essence creating a new satellite campus to serve students not only from south Fort Wayne but also from surrounding counties, said college and city officials.
The new arrangement will allow Ivy Tech to take over most of the academy's space and operating costs while still providing Fort Wayne police and firefighters with access to the training facility.
“A Fort Wayne built for success means we are constantly transforming our strengths into competitive assets,” Mayor Tom Henry said in prepared remarks.
But to some, the academy had become more of a liability than an asset, as the city poured hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax subsidies into the complex each year just to keep up with day-to-day costs.
This year, the city earmarked $400,000 in local income taxes – which otherwise would likely have gone toward street work or neighborhood projects – to keep the academy open, and even more in previous years. The city has paid another $225,000 annually to rent space in the building.
The new agreement would give Ivy Tech rights to own the 133,000-square-foot academy in 2021, after the city pays off the remainder of a bond that was issued to finance the $27 million facility, which opened in 2007.