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Ivy Tech Potentials Unlimited Learning Lab in Elkhart will close only seven years after opening

The Potentials Unlimited Learning Lab, which helped non-traditional students prepare for college, won’t have a presence in Elkhart anymore. 

Posted on July 29, 2014 at 3:26 p.m.

ELKHART — An Ivy Tech building in Elkhart will close Aug. 15, just seven years after it opened in 2007. 

The Ivy Tech Potentials Unlimited Learning Lab (PULL), 1318 S. Sixth St., is an off-campus outreach program designed to help non-traditional students prepare for college. 

After the college reviewed its spaces over the past year, Elkhart’s PULL building was added to a list of sites targeted for closure, said Lisa Shaffer, Ivy Tech’s vice chancellor of enrollment, marketing and communication for the Northwest and North Central regions

The PULL program is not providing a return on investment to the level expected by the college, Shaffer said. 

Just 15 students had signed up for fall classes this year, compared with 272 students who were enrolled in the PULL program in 2007, according to an Elkhart Truth report from that year. 

PULL was housed at the Elkhart Housing Authority building on Benham Avenue before getting its own space on South Sixth Street in 2008. 

Even though PULL won’t exist anymore, Shaffer said similar resources, including a full-service tutoring center, career advising, disability support services, Ivy Prep, and the supplemental instruction program will be available at Ivy Tech’s main campus.

One Ivy Tech student, who studied at the PULL building when she lived in the nearby Washington Garden apartments, worries that the school’s absence in that neighborhood will hurt the community. 

Denita Dudley went through the PULL program in 2011 and is now studying computer-aided design at Ivy Tech. 

Since she still lives near the PULL building, she goes there to access the Internet and do her homework.

But when she went in on Friday, July 18, employees there told her the building would be closing. 

Dudley is able to study elsewhere, but she’s concerned that others using the building don’t have anywhere else to go.

“When you take away a school in an area, you are going to take away the development and the vitality in that area,” she said. “It seems to say, there’s no hope.”

She believes those without a car may be especially hurt by Ivy Tech’s decision to close the Sixth Street lab. 

“I know you can get on the trolley and it’s a few bucks, but people don’t have the income for that,” she said. “It’s an issue for people.”

Shaffer said it’s unknown exactly how many students need public transportation to get to another Ivy Tech campus. 

The 15 students who were registered for classes there have all been notified of the closure and they have registered for the same classes at the main campus according to Shaffer. 

The three full-time employees who worked at the PULL building are out of a job, although Shaffer said they are free to apply for open positions at other Ivy Tech locations. 

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks


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