Fort Wayne, Ind. – Mayor Tom Henry today announced that the first grant from the Legacy Higher Education Opportunity Fund has been awarded to Indiana Tech’s new academic center.

Indiana Tech will receive $1 million to help support capital expenditures for the construction of the academic center. Indiana Tech is investing nearly $15 million for academic center, which is currently under construction and is expected to be complete by August 2014.

The center will house 13 classrooms for both undergraduate and graduate courses. It will feature the Ravi and Eleanor Talwar Leadership Center, focusing on leadership training and education, and the Center for Creative Collaboration to support area entrepreneurs. Additionally, a state-of-the-art education laboratory, a high-tech criminal science laboratory, an expanded McMillen Library, an art gallery, and a multi-flex auditorium and theater will be located in the academic center. The library, theater and auditorium will be open to the public and the education and criminal science laboratories will have limited public use.

In addition, the center will provide programming for the entire community including innovative efforts to help youth develop math skills and entrepreneurs develop successful local businesses.

Math programs will be offered on weekends and during the summer. It will be free to Fort Wayne high school and middle school students, particularly those families who are facing financial challenges. The program will collaborate with local school professionals and non-profit groups such as the East Central Neighborhood Association, East Wayne Street Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne and more.

The Center for Creative Collaboration will also provide significant support for local economic development efforts. It will act as a one-stop shop where entrepreneurs can receive assistance in all key areas needed to start a successful business, including market research and prototype design. Preference for clients will be given to individuals with financial need, those developing technology start-ups and those who propose projects with the most potential for growth. Additionally, the program will work closely with the City's Urban Enterprise Association, which provides incubator space for growing businesses.

“Indiana Tech's commitment to Fort Wayne, our downtown and the East Central Neighborhood is exceptional,” said Mayor Henry. “The new academic center will serve students, faculty, and the entire community. A commitment to education and learning makes Fort Wayne more attractive for new businesses and jobs and encourages a greater quality of life. We’re creating transformational change that is positioning us for future growth and success.”

Indiana Tech is deeply grateful to have earned the support of the Legacy initiative for the new academic center,” said Indiana Tech President Dr. Arthur Snyder.  “From the very start of planning for the project, community engagement and benefit have been central to our vision for the academic center. With support such as this, that vision is becoming reality.”

As part of Legacy Fort Wayne, the Higher Education Opportunity Fund was created, which provides higher-learning nonprofit institutions up to a $3 million, 3-to-1 match for capital investments. The investments must be made in downtown Fort Wayne or surrounding core neighborhoods. The Opportunity Fund has a limited amount of dollars available and applications are considered as they are submitted.