Indiana University East and the New Castle Community School Corporation have developed a plan for the future use of the Danielson Learning Center that will continue serving the educational needs of Henry County residents.
After months of careful consideration and collaboration, IU East is transferring the Danielson Center to the New Castle Community School Corporation (NCCSC), a decision that was made final Monday night (July 16) during its monthly meeting. The IU Board of Trustees gave its approval in June.
The NCCSC officially now owns and operates the center, which will retain its name. The center, named for Donald C. “Danny” and Patty Danielson, opened in 1999. The Danielsons were the driving force in the creation of IU East’s Danielson Center. Through their leadership and philanthropic support, the couple led the way to build the center to support education, the county’s economic vitality and quality of life – a mission that will continue for a long time to come as part of the school corporation.
NCCSC Superintendent Matthew Shoemaker said the district – along with the New Castle Career Center – will use the Danielson Center for high school classes, including its dual credit courses. IU East will have access to the center for classes, if needed.
“New Castle Career Center will utilize the space in conjunction with New Castle High School to offer Early College programming for students wishing to earn postsecondary credentialing while enrolled in high school,” Shoemaker said. “New Castle High School plans to utilize the Danielson Center for a college level anatomy class, whereas our New Castle Career Center will use part of the space for an up-to-date Health Science Education and EMT laboratory and classrooms to educate the students of Henry County. NCCC will also offer adult programming in the evenings for anyone interested in becoming an EMT or Advanced EMT.”
Jason Troutwine, vice chancellor for External Affairs at IU East, said the transfer of the building from IU East to the NCCSC is a new beginning for the Danielson Center but the vision to serve Henry County residents is still its primary function.
“The conversation to transfer the center to NCCSC began a year ago, and every effort was made to ensure the Danielson family and Danny Danielson’s vision aligned with the new future of the center,” Troutwine said. “We are very pleased that the New Castle Community School Corporation will be able to continue to serve the community at the Danielson Center.”
The connection between the university and the school corporation was made through Greg Crider, a longtime member of the IU East Board of Advisors and legal counsel for the NCCSC. Crider was very helpful in pulling the organizations together.
“I believe that IU East and the NCCSC did their due diligence throughout this process,” Crider said. “This is a win-win for the Henry County community. I am pleased to see Danny’s legacy will be preserved and this site will be continued to be used for educational purposes.”
While IU East has continually enrolled students from New Castle and Henry County through the years, enrollment in courses held at the Danielson Center has dropped, resulting in the campus administration needing to look for new opportunities for the center. Students are choosing to live closer to campus and attend classes in person or are taking more classes through IU East’s online degree completion programs. The collaboration between IU East and NCCSC came at a time when the high school is in need of additional space.
“New Castle Career Center and New Castle High School are humbled by this donation from Indiana University East and will honor the vision of Mr. Danny Danielson to provide educational opportunities to the students in the community,” Shoemaker said.
Nearly 20 years ago, the construction of the Danielson Center was funded entirely by Henry County residents. The Danielsons were actively involved in projects that supported the Henry County community and Indiana University. The Danielson Center was made possible after a group of residents, currently formed as the Danielson Education Council, Inc., saw the need for higher education housed within their community. Danny and Patty Danielson challenged the community to raise money to build the center and the campaign raised $1 million for construction of the center.
Through the Danielsons’ leadership and philanthropic support, the couple was a driving force in the creation of the Danielson Center. The first classes were held at the center by IU East in 1999.
Danny Danielson passed away in May 2015. Patty Danielson passed away in December 2013.
The Danielsons’ daughter, Susie Danielson Anderson, said on behalf of her sisters, Mary Johnson and Amy Thompson, the family is supportive of the transfer of the Danielson Center from IU East to the NCCSC.
“My sisters and I are grateful for the collaborative effort by all parties, and especially the leadership of Greg Crider, in working to continue our parents’ desire to provide and encourage educational opportunities to the New Castle Community through the use of the Danielson Center.”