Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana’s only full-fledged community college with more than 40 campus locations across the state. As the largest post-secondary public educational institution in Indiana, Ivy Tech is embracing its vision as an engine for economic transformation, preparing students for careers that will grow the future economy.

With nearly 700 manufacturing companies in Elkhart County alone and 1 in 3 jobs represented in the manufacturing sector, Ivy Tech’s South Bend – Elkhart campus is positioned to train the next generation workforce in manufacturing, industry, and automation. Increasing enrollment in the Advanced Manufacturing Degree (ADMF) program and demand for highly skilled employees with internationally recognized credentials in advanced automation, robotics, and manufacturing have propelled the urgent need for a facility like the new Larry & Judy Garatoni Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Automation.

Our main goal for the Advanced Manufacturing & Automation space is that it would be fluid and agile to allow for easy reconfiguration of new equipment as advancements in industry continue to evolve. Creating a bridge between Ivy Tech and surrounding industry by increasing the visibility of the campus – and more importantly the program – is vital to the success of the facility’s design. The building is located adjacent to the existing campus facility, so considering the presence of that structure while also creating an opportunity for the building to celebrate the college’s brand and identity to passersby is key.

Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Automation

Location Elkhart, IN
Size 10,400 sq. ft. New Construction
Status Completed 2021
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The design team and Ivy Tech both envisioned the building as a catalyst to enhance the visibility of the program – sparking intrigue by spotlighting creativity, relevance, and innovation – without compromising the functionality of the space. Glass windows not only provide natural lighting for the space; they were strategically located to provide views into the lab as students, visitors, and industry partners arrive on campus or approach the facility, generating excitement by putting the action “on display.” The architectural response is a simple and open layout to provide for future expansion and maximize the investment. The sloping form increases in height toward the road to enhance the building’s presence and scale.

Situating the new building adjacent to the existing campus facility lends a cohesive campus feeling by creating a new pedestrian plaza where students can easily and safely pass between the two buildings for classes. This connection respects the importance of the existing main building while also working with the power of the overall site to create greater visibility for the college. The “lab” creates a state-of-the-art training facility that bridges the gap between digital transformation and operational adoption in industry. The spaces are conducive to the types of equipment and hands-on learning that are necessary for the advanced manufacturing program and are also dynamic and exciting – inspiring creativity and learning for students as they embark on their career paths into Industry 4.0.

Much more than simply a place to house equipment, our team envisioned this space as a “lab” that provides a place for students to learn, grow, and be challenged as they develop the skills needed by future employers, securing careers that contribute to the vitality of the region’s economy and community. This project is a design partnership between GMB, McGee Designhouse, and JPS Consulting Engineers.

Together we really are changing lives, one student at a time, while building a stronger workforce, stronger industry, stronger employer, stronger local economy.

Sue Ellspermann, President, Ivy Tech Community College