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News for Marion Community Schools

MCS approves sale of Tucker facility to IWU

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News A prominent structure at a high-traffic entry point into the city has a new owner, bringing new possibilities.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Marion Community Schools Board of School Trustees approved the sale of the former Tucker Vocational School property, at the corner of Ind. 18 East and Pennsylvania Street, to Indiana Wesleyan University.

"We believe this change at a visible and important gateway is a win for Marion Community Schools, Indiana Wesleyan University, and the city of Marion!” said Dr. Brad Lindsay, Superintendent of Marion Community Schools. “Indiana Wesleyan University does things first-class, and this will be a positive lift for this part of our city.”

The property has not housed classes since spring of 2016. In fall of 2016, Marion Regional Career Center was established at Marion High School and the bulk of career and technical education (CTE) classes were moved there. Since that time, several community partnerships have been created or increased, so that students from Grant County and surrounding areas have more CTE opportunities now than before the Tucker building closure. As a result, enrollment at MRCC is at the highest level since 2014.

The closure of the Tucker facility was approved in October 2015 by the School Board, after several months of community discussion and planning. The reconfiguration was needed because of budget constraints. Since that time, however, MCS has continued to incur costs at the Tucker property, including utilities and basic maintenance, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, as it sought buyers and discussed proposals with various parties, both locally and from outside the community.

After three years of searching for a solution, Marion Community Schools is pleased to be moving forward with this sale to Indiana Wesleyan University.

“Indiana Wesleyan is a valuable asset to Marion Community Schools and to the city of Marion,” Lindsay said, “and we look forward to this exciting new partnership and potential for the future.”

The agreed upon purchase price for the Tucker facility is $200,000, of which $150,000 is to be used to establish an endowed scholarship fund to provide continuing educational opportunities to Marion Community Schools employees.

Marion Community Schools is pleased that this agreement builds on an important partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University, and that the property holds possibilities for new academic programming for the University.

“This acquisition is a step toward IWU having a more visible and broad impact to the economic development of the corridor leading to downtown,” said John Jones, interim chancellor at IWU. “We believe the presence of students, faculty, and staff in that building as new programs unfold will continue the great work already under way toward revitalizing the downtown area.”

The transfer of ownership of the Tucker property is expected to take place by mid-December. According to Indiana Wesleyan, renovation and occupation of the building is likely still a couple of years away to allow for careful planning and program development.

“IWU is committed to the Marion community,” said Dr. David Wright, IWU president and an alumnus of Marion High School. “Our hope is to use the Tucker facility for some innovative new educational opportunities. We have identified this as a high priority and are exploring many options. Once we have done significant research and strategic planning, we will have a more definitive direction.”

Just as MCS is grateful for this ongoing partnership with IWU, we are also grateful to the many local partners who have worked with us to build unique programs at Marion Regional Career Center that are tailored to current workforce development needs.

In addition to the on-campus CTE programs at MRCC, our community-based programs include the aviation program at Marion Municipal Airport, the culinary arts program that runs the Giant Bistro restaurant on Western Avenue, the construction trades program, which is currently working with Marion Housing Authority on local building projects, the IT Academy that has several community partners including Afena Credit Union, Marion Public Library, and more. Because of these partnerships and continued work to align our CTE offerings with workforce needs, MRCC offers more CTE programs now than it did when it was housed at the separate Tucker facility.

Marion Community Schools looks forward to continued development of these community partnerships that make our community stronger and provide a brighter future for our students, as well as for our city and all of the people who call it home.