INDIANAPOLIS – Dozens of IPFW students and faculty descended upon the Statehouse on Thursday to see the legislative process in action and push for additional dollars to aid the regional campus.
IPFW also was honored in both the House and Senate on its 50th anniversary, having opened in September 1964.
"I want the campus to be able to grow where it needs and be the best institution it can be," said Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne.
Long met with the group in the Senate Republican caucus room, telling them about the hot-button issues and how the legislature works.
He said funding is always an issue for IPFW, which is seeking an $8.6 million base budget increase. Some of that money would go to new academic programs, a student tutor program, student leadership development and technology upgrades.
The campus is also seeking $26.9 million for the second phase of a south campus repair, renovation and modernization. Lawmakers gave $21.3 million in the current budget for the renovation of the Helmke Library and Kettler Hall. The two buildings are nearly 50 years old and require significant infrastructure repairs.
Chancellor Vicky Carwein said so far a lot of the work has been internal, focusing on new plumbing and heating and air conditioning systems. The next phase would involve new elevators, equipment and furniture replacement, as well as classroom and restroom repairs.
Long said Purdue University – the managing partner in the operating agreement – hasn’t always been supportive of IPFW needs. And this year it also did not prioritize any projects for the campus, he said.
"It doesn’t help when the mothership doesn’t advocate for you," Long said.
But Long also didn’t promise the extra money, saying lawmakers will have to see how the revenue forecast plays out in April before making a decision on any new projects or funding to the budget.
Later in the day Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, congratulated Carwein on the college’s staying power, saying in the past 10 years IPFW has grown 60 percent in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded.
She said the campus serves students at all junctures of life and has "established itself as a strong civic and community partner."
When the House heard the resolution, Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, yelled "Go, Mastodons!"
IPFW nursing student Anna Miller was excited to see how the legislative process works and follow several bills, including one on concussions for student-athletes.
"I want to see it in action," she said.
She also said she sees the pros and cons in the governance debate regarding IPFW but doesn’t want to lose the connection to IU and Purdue.