FORT WAYNE – The city of Fort Wayne will cede control – and eventually ownership – of the Public Safety Academy of Northeast Indiana to Ivy Tech, a move leaders touted as a way to improve finances, expand educational access and enhance development in the south end of the city.
Mayor Tom Henry and Jerrilee Mosier, Ivy Tech Northeast chancellor, on Friday announced an agreement for the school to take control of the facility in 2013, while allowing the city to continue operating its police and fire training academies at the location.
Under the agreement, the city will lease the entire 132,000-square-foot academy at the former Southtown Mall site to Ivy Tech. The school will take ownership of the building in nine years, after all the debt to construct it has been paid. Ivy Tech currently rents 15,000 square feet of space at the building for classes.
“Ivy Tech Community College–Northeast sees this as a great opportunity for the college and the City of Fort Wayne to partner together in continuing the vision of the facility,” Mosier said.
The move will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars it bled every year in maintaining and operating the building. This year, the city’s police and fire departments will pay $225,000 in rent to the building. In addition, the City Council approved spending $400,000 in income tax revenues to plug budget holes for the facility.
Under the agreement, the city’s police and fire departments will pay $380,000 annually in rent to the facility for 38,000 square feet. Controller Pat Roller said part of the extra expense will be covered because the police department will no longer be paying any rent to its old headquarters on Creighton Avenue. She said the move will free up all of the city income tax money, which could be diverted to local road repairs.
The agreement was approved by Ivy Tech’s state board of trustees on Thursday. The City Council has not yet voted on the agreement.