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What should become of the TUFW campus? – Opinion

March 19, 2009

Up until the moment that Taylor University announced its decision to close the Fort Wayne campus that is part of our neighborhood (and borders our Association), a coalition of neighborhoods had been meeting with TUFW officials to give input on the master plan for the campus.

The decision to close this year was a surprise. We were under the impression that TUFW was under a ten year plan to eliminate its subsidies from the Upland main campus. This decision was not only a surprise for us, but for TUFW staff, including then-Chancellor Dr. Kilty.

So now, they have to figure out what to do with the campus.

Another college or university would be ideal. Names mentioned in rumors include: Ball State, IVY Tech, “a law school” or a charter school. It’s relevant to point out those are rumors. Or maybe in this economic climate, wishes…

A few have mentioned it would be an ideal campus for the Fort Wayne Police Department and Allen County Sheriff. There are athletic facilities for training (inside and out). There is a wonderful commons building/library that could be converted into a headquarters. And there are several separate buildings that would allow the two departments (and their different divisions) to share a common space while having something of a “separation” at the same time. But, the Governor’s property tax cap plan creates enough fiscal uncertainty that I doubt either the City or County would commit to such a project. That’s a shame, because when one or the other builds a complex from scratch, I’m willing to bet it would cost more then buying the TUFW campus at a “fire sale” price.

The campus would also make an excellent public school magnet campus – for the Fine Arts, or for a new Anthis. But again, a lack of knowledge about the long-term tax structure and a lack of a current building strategy for FWCS seems to rule that out.

A Community Center/YMCA? Great – does anybody have a few spare millions?

Many of the “creative” solutions may not have been discussed yet. I’d love to hear yours! Vote for your choice or give your suggestion in the poll to the right.

Opinion by Steve McCord

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