Lebanon Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center
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October 2012 - Dave Tucker, Vincennes University Vice President for Workforce Development & Community Services, began discussions with Dax Norton, Boone County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, about the possible location of a Vincennes University location in central Indiana to provide advanced manufacturing technology training. Dax Norton put Dave Tucker in contact with Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis. Mayor Lewis is responsible for the decisions made in the remainder of this timeline.
May 12, 2014 – It was announced at the Lebanon Redevelopment Commission meeting that construction of the Lebanon Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center would begin October 2014.
June 9, 2014 – The Lebanon RDC approved a no bid contract with American Structurepoint for about $197,000 to provide architectural and engineering services.
June 9, 2014 – The Lebanon RDC adopted a resolution to enter into a 21-year lease with the Lebanon Redevelopment Authority payable at a rate not to exceed $500,000 per year in semiannual installments. This lease enabled the Lebanon RDA to issue bonds (also approved by the Lebanon City Council on June 9, 2014) not to exceed $5.5 million for the purpose of providing for the payment of all or a portion of the costs of the acquisition of property and the design, engineering and construction of a new mixed-use facility, funding a debt service reserve fund, paying capitalized interest, and the costs of selling and issuing the bonds. The Lebanon RDA will own the Lebanon Education Center building and lease the building to the Lebanon RDC. The annual debt payment for the $5.5 million bond issue will be about $370,000. The Lebanon Business Park Tax Increment Financing district will be expanded to include the Lebanon Education Center building (which will pay no property taxes as a government-owned building). Excess TIF revenues will be the first source of bond debt repayment with Lebanon property tax payers providing any needed backup revenues. The Lebanon RDC will sublease the Lebanon Education Center building to Vincennes University and Haas Automotion, and the sublease payments are supposed to help provide the revenues needed to make the with bond debt repayments.
July 26, 2014 – It was announced at the groundbreaking ceremony that construction would begin September 2014 with an August 2015 completion date. The Lebanon RDC approved $1,000 for the groundbreaking ceremony.
September 8, 2014 – The Lebanon RDC approved a $1,500 invoice for an August 18, 2014, market rent appraisal. The appraisal indicated that the market rent is $240,000 a year.
September 10, 2014 – One bid was received on package #1 for a pre-engineered steel building design, fabrication, and erection.
September 17, 2014 – One bid, which was 50 percent over the estimated price, was received on package #2 for site work. There was also a scheduled bid opening on package #3 for landscaping and irrigation.
November 10, 2014 – All prior bids received in September 2014 were rejected by the Lebanon RDC because of a limited response that was over budget.
November 10, 2014 – The Lebanon RDC approved Paterson-Horth Inc. (Indianapolis) as the general contractor. The base bid plus alternatives totaled $3,685,000 for site work, irrigation, a pre-engineered steel building, landscaping, a sidewalk section, epoxy coating, and a 3,500 square foot building addition. The $4.328 million total budget does not include all furnishings. The building is designed for expansion, and construction would begin the week of December 1, 2014, with a September or October 2015 completion date.
March 9, 2015 – The Lebanon RDC approved American Structurepoint change orders totaling $32,200.
June 8, 2015 – The Lebanon RDC voted to allocate currently available RDC funds to pay $1 million for the purchase of equipment and $500,000 for “start up costs.” This $1.5 million expenditure of currently available RDC funds will be in addition to the $5.5 million bonds issue.
Some aspects of the new Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon are “promising.” Much of the following information was obtained during a June 23, 2015, meeting with Dave Tucker, Vincennes University Vice President for Workforce Development & Community Services.
(1) The Machine Maintenance Technician NOW program started June 1 in the Lebanon Business Plaza adjacent to the new Education Center facility that is now under construction at 316 North Mt. Zion Road. Construction of the new facility is expected to be completed by November 15, and the Machine Maintenance Technician NOW program will continue to be taught in the new facility starting January 2016 (applications are now being accepted for a full time instructor). The 16-week Machine Maintenance Technician NOW program generally trains incumbent workers to perform in-depth machine programming, diagnostics, and repair. The program includes Basic AC/DC Electrical Systems, Electric Motor Controls, Variable Frequency Drives, Electronic Sensors, AC Electronic Drives, Mastering PLC's Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Troubleshooting, Mechanical Drives Training, Hydraulics, and Pneumatics. Each 16-week program has two classes with 10 to 12 students each. The two classes that started June 1 in the Lebanon Business Plaza were for 20 Subaru Lafayette line assembly employees. Classes shorter than 16 weeks can be offered to meet specific employer needs.
(2) The CNC Machinist NOW training program will be offered in the new Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center facility starting January 2016. Vincennes University developed this program two years ago in response to the need for qualified machinists to operate computer numerical control machine tools. The program takes 16 weeks to complete with two concurrent classes planned that have 10 to 12 students each. The program is available to both civilians and veterans with an emphasis on helping solve the high veterans unemployment rate. Each program graduate has six National Institute for Metalworking Skills certifications including computer software programming. Mark Stockhover, who is an experienced CNC Machinist NOW instructor, has been hired as the full time instructor at the new Education Center facility. Classes shorter than 16 weeks can be offered to meet specific employer needs.
(3) A new Metrology training program is being developed that will be offered in the new Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center facility starting January 2016. The program takes 16 weeks to complete with two concurrent classes planned that have 10 to 12 students each. The program will be designed to meet the need that manufacturing facilities have for well-qualified quality control technicians. The new program curriculum is being developed together with Danville (Virginia) Community College using input from the Vincennes University Advisory Board. Wes Shelton, who is a current part time Vincennes University instructor with industry experience as a quality control department manager, has been hired as the full time instructor at the new Education Center facility. Classes shorter than 16 weeks can be offered to meet specific employer needs.
(4) A full time Site Director has been hired for the new Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center facility. The Site Director, whose name has not yet been revealed, will start August 1. The Site Director will maintain contact with the Vincennes University Advisory Board, the Boone County Economic Development Corporation, and regional businesses to tailor the Education Center programs to meet local needs. The Site Director will also be a primary liaison with Haas Automotion, which will send some of its CNC machine tool customers to the Lebanon Education Center for training.
(5) It is uncertain if eligible Lebanon High School juniors and seniors will be able to enroll in the Vincennes University Project EXCEL dual credit/concurrent enrollment program. Project EXCEL offers transcripted college credit for $25 per credit hour to eligible high school students who enroll in Vincennes University courses offered at their local high school or career center. Project EXCEL courses are available to high school juniors and seniors who meet all applicable course prerequisite requirements established by Vincennes University and/or Project EXCEL. Local high school teachers serve as instructors for Project EXCEL courses. Detailed Project EXCEL information is available online at http://www.vinu.edu/projectexcel. The Vincennes University Lebanon Education Center Site Director will need to work closely with Kristen Scott, the Career Counselor and Community Work Partnership Coordinator at the Lebanon Community School Corporation, if the Project EXCEL program is to be established at Lebanon High School. The earliest that the Project EXCEL program could be established at Lebanon High School is Fall 2016.
(6) The new Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center facility in Lebanon will have four classrooms with another area that can be used as a fifth classroom. Two classrooms will be equipped for the CNC Machinist NOW program, and one classroom each will be equipped for the Machine Maintenance Technician NOW program and the Metrology quality control technician program. All three training programs will have lab space provided. The “smart” classrooms can also be used to to offer other Vincennes University Workforce Development and Community Services programs. Detailed information about the other Workforce Development and Community Services programs is available online at http://catalog.vinu.edu/content.php?catoid=23&navoid=1946.
(7) There are NO PLANS to offer the Vincennes University Logistics and Supply Chain program at the new Gene Haas Training and Education Center facility in Lebanon. The Logistics and Supply Chain program, which prepares employees for warehouse jobs, is now offered at the Vincennes University facility in Plainfield. Current plans for the Lebanon Education Center include offering only programs that prepare graduates for entry-level jobs that pay a get-ahead wage of at least $15 an hour – these entry-level jobs are for career paths that lead to higher wage jobs. The low-wage warehouse job market in Boone County is saturated, and the new Lebanon Education Center should not waste any resources on the Logistics and Supply Chain program. Focusing the Lebanon Education Center programs on careers that pay a get-ahead wage will help attract employers that pay good wages to central Boone County.
IN CONCLUSION, the new Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center facility in Lebanon holds great promise to help better prepare the central Boone County workforce for fulfilling careers that pay good wages. This promise will not be fully realized until eligible Lebanon High School juniors and seniors are able to participate in Vincennes University dual credit/concurrent enrollment programs.
Some aspects of the new Vincennes University Gene Haas Training and Education Center in Lebanon are “troublesome.” Summarized next are the Education Center troubling aspects that need attention going forward.
(1) The projected cost of the Lebanon Education Center has increased 55 percent from $5.5 million to $8.5 million. The Education Center will be a one-story 25,000 square foot building located on 13.61 acres at 316 North Mt. Zion Road in the Lebanon Business Park. The building can be expanded to include 80,000 to 100,000 square feet. Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine tools from Haas Automation will be installed in the building for Vincennes University to use to provide CNC machinist training programs.
(2) The City of Lebanon does not have control of the $1.5 million grant received from the Gene Haas Foundation to support the Lebanon Education Center. The $8.5 million total cost of the Education Center is supposed to be provided by the $1.5 million Gene Haas Foundation Grant together with a $5.5 million bond issued by the Lebanon Redevelopment Authority and a $1.5 million grant made by the Lebanon Redevelopment Commission. The July 29, 2014, edition of The Lebanon Reporter has a picture of Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis receiving a big blown-up $1.5 million check from the Gene Haas Foundation for the Education Center. The big check is misleading because it shows the City of Lebanon as the payee. The $1.5 million from the Gene Haas Foundation was actually deposited into the Vincennes University Foundation. To gain access to the $1.5 million Gene Haas Foundation grant, the Lebanon RDC must submit invoices for the Education Center costs to the Vincennes University Vice President for Workforce Development & Community Services. The Vincennes University Vice President will approve invoices for (a) building costs, (b) equipment costs (excluding the Haas Automotion CNC machine tools), and (c) Vincennes University Education Center personnel funding until January 2016.
(3) The sublease payments from the Lebanon Education Center occupants are not expected to be sufficient to make the $370,000 annual debt payments on the $5.5 million Lebanon RDA bond issue. Half of the Education Center will be occupied by Vincennes University, and Haas Automotion will have a sales office and showroom in the other half of the building. An August 18, 2014, market rent appraisal indicated that the Education Center should be subleased for $240,000 a year. Vincennes University apparently intends to sign a ten-year sublease before July 15, 2015, and it is not certain what sublease arrangements will be made with Haas Automotion. It will be interesting to see if Mayor Lewis insists that the sublease agreements with Vincennes University and Haas Automotion will have rent payments that total at least $240,000 a year.
(4) Lebanon Education Center construction target dates have been repeatedly missed. Construction was supposed to begin September 2014 with an August 2015 completion date. However, a two month delay resulted from mismanagement by Kite Harris Properties (who was awarded a no-bid contract to be construction manager). The Education Center project was initially bid in three packages with the City of Lebanon acting as a general contractor. Bid responses on the three packages was poor because subcontractors could not afford the required performance bonds. A reasonable bid was received from a general contractor after the project was rebid as one “unified bid.” Construction actually began December 2014, and the building will not be completed until November 15, 2015. The Education Center will still have to have equipment installed after the building is completed.
In conclusion, Vincennes University is on record stating that it prefers the City of Lebanon as a landlord instead of renting from the private sector. This preference is easily understood when one considers the sweetheart deal that Mayor Lewis has arranged with Vincennes University. Lebanon RDC property tax dollars will for years subsidize the Lebanon Education Center instead of being spent on city needs or used to lower the city’s property tax rate. Ongoing Lebanon Education Center oversight is needed to (a) keep the project costs from increasing even more, (b) make certain the Lebanon RDC eventually receives all of the $1.5 million Gene Haas Foundation grant to offset the project costs, (c) negotiate sublease agreements with Vincennes University and Haas Automotion that will have rent payments totaling at least $240,000 a year, and (d) make certain the Education Center opens on time in January 2016.
It will take careful management by City of Lebanon leaders working with Vincennes University to realize the promise of having the Lebanon Education Center efficiently and effectively provide a highly skilled workforce and serve as a technology incubator that attracts high paying advanced manufacturing jobs to central Boone County.
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This page was last updated on 06/27/15 .