Stonegate Arts & Education Board Of Directors Submit Five-Year Plan To City Of Bedford

(BEDFORD) – Stonegate Board President Gene McCracken and Brian Blackwell submitted a five-year plan to City of Bedford Council Members during last night’s city council meeting.

City of Bedford City Council Members requested the Stonegate Arts & Education Board of Directors submit a plan so they are not as dependent on the City of Bedford’s contributions to the building.

The city has contributed more than $160,000 a year for the last three years to the Stonegate Arts & Education building. The Board of Directors has submitted a request to reduce that payment to $110,000 for 2021. This is a reduction of $50,000.

In the next five years, the group hopes to receive more contributions from the three colleges that use the facility. These colleges include Oakland City College, Vincennes University, and Ivy Tech.

A lease agreement between the City of Bedford and Oakland City University, who donated the Bedford Development Center located at 401 I St., states that Oakland City University will have free office space and classroom space for 10 years. This agreement started on July 1, 2014.

Oakland City has a current enrollment of around 80 regular students.

Ivy Tech receives a yearly grant from the Indiana Department of Education 21st Century Learning Centers Program that provides them with the Southern Indiana Education Alliance grant. With those funds, they pay $54,000 a year to Stonegate to use the building.

Ivy Tech has a current enrollment of 164 students who are enrolled in one or more courses at Stonegate. This includes 95 full-time and 69 part-time students. 

Vincennes University received a one-year free lease for the 2019-2020 school year in an effort to help them start classes at Stonegate. 

Vincennes University has around 20 regular students. Enrollment with General Motors employees is around 30 students.

Oakland City offers business courses with several undergrad and graduate courses available. 

Ivy Tech offers 17 different courses ranging from medical, HVAC, electrical, business, and English. 

Vincennes University offers courses for apprenticeship training for General Motors and a clinical medical assisting training program.

The Board of Directors is hoping to seek more corporate sponsors and con – profits to use the facility over the next five years. Organizations like the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council and General Motors use the facility for various events.

A third area of revenue is from rental income of the facility.

“This is at least a plan and I am sure that the Stonegate Arts & Education will see continued growth in the near future,” said Bedford City Council Member Dan Bortner following the presentation of Brian Hawkins and Gene McCracken.

Currently, the Bedford Redevelopment Commission is paying a USDA Loan of $4.5 million with an interest rate of 3.25 percent for the construction of the Stonegate Arts & Education building. There can be an early payoff of that loan. The final payoff of the loan is expected to be made in 2037. The interest from the entirety of the loan is $1,090,000. 

There are a total of eight people who serve on the Stonegate Arts & Education Center board of directors. These people include Brian Blackwell, Jamie Blackwell, Sam Craig, Shawna Girgis, Julie Hewetson, Ty Mungle, Nathan Nikirk, and Everett Southern.

Gene McCracken

Gene McCracken, President of Stonegate Arts & Education Center, has announced he will be stepping down at the end of 2020 and the Stonegate Board of Directors will be searching for his replacement.