Purdue trustees approve new buildings to improve university's health research capabilities

August 30, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Monday (Aug. 30) approved financing and constructing a drug discovery center and a health and human sciences research facility.

In its meeting at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the board also increased funding authorization for a building to house a central machine shop and agricultural and biological engineering.

The new $54 million HHS facility will combine all components of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, with other clinical facilities associated with the new College of Health and Human Sciences and the Indiana University School of Medicine - Lafayette, which will be housed in the remainder of the new building. The building will be located on the Life and Health Sciences Quadrangle and include an 850-vehicle parking garage.

Christine Ladisch, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, said the new facility, which includes academic and clinical space, will provide an atmosphere that supports the education and research goals of the participating entities.

"The design will preserve each academic unit's image and culture and expand opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning and engagement," Ladisch said.

In addition to $38 million in bond proceeds, gifts totaling $16 million will be used to build the facility, which is expected to be completed by July 2013.

Alumna and speech pathologist Marybeth Lyles Higuera is contributing $10 million to build the Lyles-Porter Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences portion of the facility.

"Marybeth's compassion will allow Purdue graduates to provide even better care for patients and help researchers strive to improve life for people with communication disorders," said Robert Novak, department head for speech, language and hearing sciences.

The $25 million drug discovery facility, to be located adjacent to the Hansen Life Science Research Building on the Life and Health Sciences Quadrangle, will, in part, replace aging existing lab space in Wetherill Laboratory and allow for the strict environmental control needed to successfully develop new drugs. Jeffrey Roberts, dean of the College of Science, said the new facility will bring some of Purdue's drug discovery researchers into a common facility that promotes and enables "cutting edge" work.

"Purdue has an amazingly successful group of faculty members who are pushing the frontiers of drug discovery," Roberts said. "The building will put Purdue on the map nationally as a center of excellence in drug discovery."

The facility will aid ongoing Purdue research that has already developed drug therapies to target cancer cells, including drugs that are being brought to market by Endocyte, a Purdue Research Park company.

Purdue will combine up to $5 million in funds from gifts and facility and administrative cost recovery with $20 million in bond proceeds to pay for the project, which is expected to be completed by July 2013.

The trustees also approved increasing the funding authorization for the Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Central Machine Shop Facility from $2.8 million to $4.3 million. The building will provide open, high-bay teaching lab space and space where technicians can use precision machining to fabricate custom equipment for researchers in agriculture, engineering, science, veterinary medicine and technology. The increased budget would allow for additional teaching and research space in the agricultural and biological engineering portion of the building.

The new facility will replace an older one that is being razed to make way for the widening of Harrison Street and development of the new Life and Health Sciences Quadrangle at the south end of campus. Gifts, department funds and right-of-way acquisition fees totaling $2.85 million have been committed to the project. An expanded budget for the project is dependent on $1.5 million in additional gifts expected this semester. 

Writer:  Jim Schenke, 765-494-6262, jschenke@purdue.edu

Sources:   Christine Ladisch, 765-494-8210, ladischc@purdue.edu

                    Jeffrey Roberts, jtrob@purdue.edu

                    Robert Novak, 765-494-3788, novakr@purdue.edu

                    Robert McMains, vice president for physical facilities, 765-494-8000, remcmains@purdue.edu

Related websites:
Purdue University Center for Cancer Research