Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech Community College are talking about building a shared structure along the 35th Avenue corridor in Gary. It's a promising idea.
The two Gary campuses are nearby. Connecting them isn't much of a stretch, and doing so would strengthen that area of Gary. Just imagine the synergy that could come from symbiotic universities.
Among Ivy Tech's aims is to prepare students for four-year degree programs like the ones IUN offers. It's a logical progression for Ivy Tech students who need a bachelor's degree. And IUN benefits from a community college that prepares students for the rigors of a four-year degree program.
The possibility of a shared facility arose last week when the Indiana University trustees met in Gary. IUN Chancellor William Lowe said the IU and Ivy Tech trustees have endorsed the idea of a new building on 35th Avenue, but the state has yet to give final approval.
The building would replace the former Tamarack Hall, which was destroyed by flooding in 2008 and razed this year.
IU Trustee Thomas Reilly Jr. expressed his hope that IUN and Ivy Tech would have a relationship much like what has developed at the IU campus in Richmond.
"I have seen the powerful connection that was accomplished by bringing together geographically Ivy Tech and Indiana University East. Reid Hospital is also nearby. All of these are in walking distance." Reilly told said at Thursday's IU board meeting. "It has created an entire dynamic for that community."
That could -- and should -- happen in Gary as well.
Collaboration between the two universities creates an impressive potential for economic development.
It also means cutting duplicative spending. Why build multiple buildings when sharing one works just as well?
It's good to see the two campuses reaching toward each other for students' convenience. Sharing a facility also makes sense, too, for the same reasons -- students' convenience and strengthening the ties between the two institutions.