Purdue approves cancer research facility, approves naming student-athlete facility for Brees

April 13, 2012

HAMMOND, Ind. - The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (April 13) approved a contract to construct a $15.9 million cancer research facility in Discovery Park.

The board, in its meeting on the Purdue Calumet campus, also approved renaming the Intercollegiate Athletics Facility to honor Drew and Brittany Brees.

Kettelhut Construction Co. of Lafayette, Ind., was awarded a $12.3 million construction contract to build a multidisciplinary cancer research facility attached to the Bindley Bioscience Center. The building is designed to enhance the disease research capabilities of research facilities throughout Discovery Park, integrating scientific expertise from the molecular level through animal disease modeling.

"This new facility will complement the capabilities of the Bindley Bioscience Center and the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research in biophysical and biomolecular analyses, conventional cell imaging and separation, and high-throughput screening technologies," said Timothy Ratliff, the Robert Wallace Miller Director of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. "Laboratories are planned for cancer cell biology, therapeutic and medical device development, cell-based screening, medicinal chemistry, and next-generation imaging."

On Thursday (April 12) the Physical Facilities Committee approved a request to increase the project budget by $1 million to a total of $15.9 million. The additional authorization will cover bids that arrived higher than expected and for any unforeseen contingencies.

Federal grant funds from the National Institutes of Health will pay for the original $14.9 million, with the remainder coming from gift funds and facility and administrative funds.

Trustees approved renaming the Intercollegiate Athletics Facility the Drew and Brittany Brees Student-Athlete Academic Center. As a Purdue senior and starting quarterback, Drew Brees was named the Academic All-American of the Year.

During the $99.5 million Mackey Arena renovation capital campaign, the New Orleans Saints' quarterback and his wife, Brittany, made a $2 million gift designed to help future generations of student-athletes succeed academically. The IAF office space is being converted to house an enhanced student computer lab and academic counseling center.

"This renaming is an appropriate recognition of the generosity and leadership shown by Drew and Brittany Brees and their commitment to Purdue's student-athletes," said university President France A. Córdova.

Constructed in 1982 adjacent to Mackey Arena, the IAF also houses Belin Court in Holloway Gymnasium, the home facility for Purdue's volleyball and wrestling teams. Intercollegiate Athletics director Morgan Burke said the new academic center is already having an impact in strengthening Purdue athletics.

"The area is regularly used and is a key point on recruiting visits by prospective student-athletes," Burke said. "It makes an impact and underscores the importance of making sure our athletes succeed on the field and in the classroom."

Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-237-7296, jschenke@purdue.edu

Sources:  Timothy Ratliff, 765-494-9129, tlratliff@purdue.edu

                   France A. Córdova, president@purdue.edu

                   Morgan Burke, 765-494-3189, mjb@purdue.edu