Community college gift investment in education

Daily Journal

Ivy Tech Community College has grown in importance in Franklin during the past several years as more students attend classes to begin their college educations and to obtain technical training needed for the modern workplace. Now the college has received an immense gift that will allow it to expand as needed in the future.

The college received a $3.5 million estate gift from the Bill and Sandy DeMichieli Trust, which gives the college ownership of the Franklin campus it had been leasing since 2008. That also allows the college to expand into another 9,000 square feet of space they hadn’t been using before.

The gift includes $2.9 million for the value of the building and land and $600,000 for programs and scholarships.

Officials said they want to use the space for added classrooms and labs. What students will learn in that new space hasn’t been decided, but the possibilities include health sciences, such as medical assistance, biomedical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, and other industries, such as biodiesel mechanics.

Kathleen Lee, Ivy Tech chancellor for central Indiana, said no timeline has been set for when a decision will be made on how to use the space. First, the college wants to know what classes students want to take and what programs will help the community be able to offer workers in needed fields.

The gift is part of the estate of Bill and Sandy DeMichieli. Ivy Tech began leasing the building from Bill DeMichieli, a 30-year resident of Franklin, in 2008. That gave the college 12,000 square feet of classroom, lab and office space, according to a news release from Ivy Tech. The rest of the building, with 9,000 square feet of space, was leased by other companies over the past years. Now, Ivy Tech will own the entire building.

The DeMichielis were interested in health sciences and also connected to the college. The couple set up a nursing scholarship in 2008 after being cared for by Ivy Tech nursing graduates when they had been ill, according to a news release from the college.

Bill DeMichieli was an engineer and Sandy DeMichieli worked in human resources. He worked for Boeing for several years but also became a successful entrepreneur, owning restaurants, racing teams, commercial real estate and car dealerships.

With the gift, officials can now be confident they have the space they need for the future for new classrooms, labs and the inevitable added parking as more students enroll.

We celebrate this generous gift. It truly is an investment in Johnson County that will pay dividends for generations to come.

At issue

Ivy Tech Community College’s role in Franklin College has been growing over the past several decades.

Our point

A generous gift from the estate of a Johnson County family is an investment that will pay significant dividends.