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An educational hothouse

Douglas Robson, the director of the Harrison County Lifelong Learning program, asked the county commissioners last week for enough money to provide for a move to a bigger but temporary location in Corydon, the ‘101 Building’ on S.R. 62 in west Corydon where Harrison County Community Services makes its home.
In the few short years of its life (it was formed in 2000), Lifelong Learning has been successful and steadily improved its array of GED, adult education and computer classes. Now it needs to get out of its cramped quarters on Quarry Road. Robson wants to lease about 5,000 square feet at Bob McKim’s 101 Building. Eventually, Robson said, Lifelong Learning will need a permanent location if it wants to keep on providing relevant classes in an adequate setting to enable ambitious local people to get ahead in life.
Robson also mentioned something that everyone involved should consider very seriously as a wise investment in the future labor force and industrial vitality here: Lifelong Learning is interested in building a permanent location, ideally on 7.2 acres of land at the Harrison County Industrial Park. The land is owned by the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County, not far from Lifelong Learning’s miniscule office.
The Chamber site meets Lifelong Learning’s three basic criteria for a new facility: utility infrastructure in place, space, and a good location. Of course, Lifelong Learning doesn’t need seven acres, but if that site were also occupied by the Purdue Extension Service and satellite campuses of Ivy Tech and Indiana University Southeast, that would make a very fine educational/technical/vocational center under the same roof. It could be an educational hothouse that, we think, would attract thousands of students from Harrison, Crawford, Floyd, Perry and even Meade County, Ky., well into the future.
This is not a new idea. Local business and educational leaders plus Ivy Tech leaders discussed the idea several years ago but, for some reason or another, it didn’t fly. Maybe now is the time to resurrect the idea of a big regional campus and start some serious inter-school discussions.