Indiana Wesleyan University plans on opening a regional education center in Hilliard in September.

Indiana Wesleyan University plans on opening a regional education center in Hilliard in September.

The IWU branch would occupy a floor of the One Mill Run building at 3455 Mill Run Drive and be devoted to teaching allied medicine trades such as nursing in nine classrooms. The university will employ 60 people with a payroll of $2.1 million.

Hilliard's economic and community development committee forwarded to city council an ordinance authorizing an economic development agreement with the university. The ordinance will receive its first reading at the July 12 council meeting.

"This project has been a long time in the works," economic development director David Meeks said of IWU. "They've been exploring the market. For a while, it looked like they were going to go over to New Albany for their first campus in central Ohio."

The multiple-year agreement will depend on the length of the lease of the 20,000 square feet of office space, Meeks said. IWU is eligible to receive an annual job creation incentive of 25 percent of the actual local payroll withholding taxes paid on wages of IWU employees, contingent on meeting or exceeding the minimum local payroll taxes due. For example, if the minimum local payroll taxes due in 2011 were $41,640 the annual incentive would be $10,410.

IWU is an evangelical Christian university that has 3,200 students at its Marion, Indiana, home. However, there are 12,000 students who attend classes online or at 15 regional centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The university currently has buildings in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton.

According to its Web site, "IWU has been Indiana's fastest-growing University for the past two years. The University's total enrollment makes IWU the largest private university in Indiana."

"It should be a nice addition to Hilliard," Meeks said. "I think it goes well with our focus on attracting more medical-type trades."

Meeks said IWU plans to open its central Ohio branch in time for fall quarter, but has much to do.

There may be more good news for Hilliard, Meeks said. "The pipeline seems to be starting to fill up with some solid projects, so hopefully commercial financing will come along with that, and we'll be able to keep this committee busy."