Indiana State University Newsroom

Downtown bookstore project moving forward

April 28, 2010

Construction has begun on a new building in downtown Terre Haute to house the Indiana State University Foundation and the ISU-Barnes & Noble College Bookstore.

"The project is another catalyst for transforming downtown as well as the university," foundation President Gene Crume said during a groundbreaking ceremony at the Fifth and Cherry Street construction site. "This will be a dynamic addition that the entire Terre Haute community will benefit from."

The 30,000-square-foot, two-story facility will be an important and attractive feature to downtown redevelopment and expansion of the ISU campus, Crume said. The building's exterior was designed to blend the downtown motif with the university's architecture.

"This project reflects Indiana State's goal of serving as a catalyst for downtown development," said university President Dan Bradley. "As we move forward in implementing our strategic plan and the new campus master plan, there will be more opportunities for ISU to work with city and community leaders to continue revitalization of downtown and improve the riverfront."

The ISU Foundation is developing the project in conjunction with Vermilion Development, a firm that specializes in transformative, university-based real estate projects.

"This project has survived the most difficult economic environment in a generation. At a time when many other commercial real estate projects have been shelved, this one is moving forward," said Dave Cocagne, President/CEO of Vermilion Development. "It's taken a little longer than anticipated, but the tenants should be moving into the building by the first part of next year.

The Barnes & Noble retail space will significantly increase in size from its current space in the Hulman Memorial Student Union on the ISU campus. The new location will include more product lines, additional services, and extended hours and will also house a Starbucks. It is expected that the expanded bookstore will create additional jobs in Terre Haute.

"The planned development on Cherry Street, housing Barnes & Noble Bookstore and the ISU Foundation offices, continues the multi-year renaissance which has transformed our central business district from one of decline to a vibrant showcase," said Rod Henry, president of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce.

The Foundation's move from its current campus location in Gillum Hall will help consolidate all organizational functions in one area, including the operations and development functions, as well as provide prominent space for the ISU Alumni Association. The space will also house the Varsity Club, Sycamore Foundation Holdings, Leadership Wabash Valley, Sycamore Ambassadors, Terre Haute REX Baseball office, and a call center for the annual giving program.

The project is an important part of the foundation's strategic leadership plan, said Curt Wilkinson, chairman of the foundation's board of directors.

"The foundation recognizes the importance of the community support of Indiana State and is working to help increase the presence of the university in the Wabash Valley," Wilkinson said.

The foundation plans promote the university in the community by providing a new and distinct entrance on the west side of campus. The site will make the foundation offices more accessible to alumni, donors, and community members through off-street parking and a 24-hour donation deposit box. The structure will also support various university initiatives by hosting rotating displays of student and faculty artwork, making conference and meeting space available to patrons, and developing an alumni center featuring ISU memorabilia.

Vermilion Development Corp. of Chicago and Danville, Ill. is the project developer, while local contractor Thompson Thrift will serve as builder. It is anticipated that labor used in the project will be from the Terre Haute area.

"We are pleased to partner with the Foundation on this project. It has taken vision, patience, and some sacrifice to translate this project to reality. Ultimately, I think the university and community will be rewarded by the Foundation's foresight in undertaking this ambitious project," said Cocagne.

About the ISU Foundation: The Indiana State University Foundation inspires others to become involved in the life of the university and secures the resources to ensure the university's growth and success. The foundation has been designated as the receiver and repository of gifts to the university. Since its establishment in 1928, the function of the foundation is to promote the welfare of the ISU. It serves as the fundraising arm of the university, manages the university's endowment, engages in resource development initiatives and oversees alumni relations and constituent development programs.

Photo: - ISU/Kara Berchem

Media contact: Kim Bloch, communications coordinator, Indiana State University Foundation, 812-230-6245 (office), 812-230-6245 (cell), or