6 new properties are first step in JCTCs ambitious growth plans
Jefferson Community & Technical College has acquired six properties along or adjacent to First Street, slipping across Broadway in the first step of an aggressive 20-year, $200 million growth plan. This $3.1 million investment on 3.08 acres represents the first step in what Jefferson plans as a long-term expansion of its Downtown Campus footprint, developing it into a 21st Century campus that can accommodate up to 20,000 students in a high-touch, high-tech learning environment. This vision was launched in August with the opening of the $25.6 million state-of-the-art Health Sciences Building, which now houses JCTC's 14 allied health and nursing programs. In that facility, students can train for current and emerging healthcare careers.
Significantly, Jefferson is breaking a trend among community colleges in our nation, who are rapidly moving away from urban centers, said Dr. Tony Newberry, President and CEO. Instead, we are investing in our neighborhood and we are excited to be part of the revitalization of Downtown Louisville. The current properties were purchased with a portion of the $10.5 million the General Assembly authorized last year for the college to borrow from the Kentucky Community & Technical College System for acquisition of property near the Downtown Campus.
The college s plan will roll out in three phases.
- Phase I is to meet the college's immediate need for student parking. The college currently owns only about a third of needed student parking and leases additional parking, which is still inadequate. The properties will add 150 spaces immediately and much more in a few months as the property is readied for that use. In addition, obtaining adequate off-campus parking will allow the college to pursue Phase II, which is to obtain funding for a Student Center and an additional classroom building on the current campus at Second and Broadway. Those buildings would be placed on a portion of the current student parking lot.
- Phase II also includes renewing a request for $28.6 million from the General Assembly to complete renovations on the Hartford Tower and Seminary Building. The Hartford Tower contains science labs, which are now nearly 40 years old. The Seminary Building, on the National Register of Historic Places, contains 8,000 square feet of space that currently is closed to all use while it awaits critical upgrades. Thanks to planning money a few years ago, plans are complete and construction can begin shortly after funding is secured.
- Phase III is the most ambitious. In coming months, the college anticipates acquiring additional property. However, the full vision is to expand the footprint of the Downtown Campus from Chestnut Street on the North to Breckenridge Street on the South and from Brook Street on the East to Second Street on the West. Plans include adding a classroom building in the current student parking lot and a building for a new library and bookstore. South of Broadway, the college will construct a Center for Advanced Technology. This multi-building Center will include a manufacturing education facility that employs the latest technology and manufacturing practices. Surrounding structures will house other technology programs, looking to the future of information technology, building trades, education, research and business.
Realizing this plan will require support from the broader community. Plans include the possibility of moving an on-ramp to southbound I-65 one block south, from Jacob Street to E. College Street or to close the ramp in order to remove it from the center of a pedestrian friendly campus. In addition, while the property that formerly housed Cissell Manufacturing is available and is included in the campus master plan, it also has environmental concerns that would have to be resolved before the property could be used even for parking.
The college has had preliminary discussions with transportation officials and Metro Louisville officials about options and possibilities, but much work remains. We anticipate the community will support us as we begin clear to barriers to this exciting revitalization project, Newberry said. Our ultimate goal is to expand educational opportunities in our region.
The Downtown Campus is the largest of Jefferson Community & Technical College's six campuses, enrolling 8,000 students out of a total enrollment of 15,262. The college also has a campus at 8th and Chestnut streets in Downtown Louisville; one in Southwest Jefferson County, and one each in Bullitt, Carroll and Shelby counties.