Did You Know?: Engineering Administration Building and retired Heating and Power Plant-North

April 11, 2014  


ENAD and power plant

The Engineering Administration Building (left) and the retired Heating and Power Plant-North will be torn down at the end of this academic year to make way for the Active Learning Center. (Purdue University photo / Mark Simons)
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In the fall, the Engineering Administration Building and the retired Heating and Power Plant-North -- two campus buildings that have been instrumental in the history of Purdue -- will no longer appear on campus maps.

The buildings will be torn down at the end of this academic year to make way for the Active Learning Center. As is anticipated for the new center, the two old buildings have stood in a central place geographically and functionally on campus.

Built in 1924, the Heating and Power Plant-North (HPN) was built to meet the growing demand for power on the West Lafayette campus. The existing power plant, built in 1903, could not provide adequate heat and electricity to Smith Hall, the Armory, Stanley Coulter Hall and the Home Economics and Recitation buildings, all erected after the power plant was opened, in addition to the original campus buildings. With the Electrical Building and the Purdue Memorial Union opening in 1924, the Heating and Power Plant-North was constructed to replace the existing plant.

When functional, the newer power plant had a boiler room, generator room, rooms on the ground floor and a 15-by-250-foot smokestack. The plant used four batteries of two boilers each, a 75,000-gallon water tank and a 30-foot switchboard among other equipment to provide heat and electricity. The power plant was retired in 1991 after a new boiler was added to Wade Utility Plant at the southern edge of campus. The smokestack was demolished in 1992. 

ENAD and power plant2

The Service and Stores building is shown in July 1928 while it was under construction. The building was originally used as a storage building. By 1962, it was known as the Engineering Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Purdue University Archives and Special Collections) 
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Directly north of the retired power plant is the Engineering Administration Building (ENAD), which was built in 1928 and originally known as the Service and Stores Building. Over the years, the building has undergone many renovations and has served many functions.

The building was originally used as a storage building and was rented to the Soil Conservation Committee in 1937. The Soil Conservation Committee still functions today as the State Soil Conservation Board. According to Gary Steinhardt, professor of agronomy, the committee was made up of “conservation-minded farmers and others who would match up funds with programs and opportunities for conservation.”

In 1941, just five months before Pearl Harbor, a group of six teachers at Purdue conducted a survey to determine the needs of defense industries in Indiana. From the data they collected, they began a defense program composed of five district offices and one central office, located in the Service and Stores Building. By September, 4,500 students were enrolled in 300 classes offered by the program.

By 1962, the Service and Stores Building was known as the Engineering Administration Building. That year, Purdue created the first computer science department in the U.S., and computer science classes were held in the Engineering Administration Building until 1967, when the department was moved to the Mathematical Sciences Building.

The Engineering Administration Building now houses some units of the Office of Marketing and Media; the Summer Transition, Advising and Registration (STAR) program; and the LGBTQ Center, and will continue to do so through the end of the current semester.

* A photo gallery by Mark Simons in the Office of Marketing and Media takes a look inside the retired Heating and Power Plant-North. The photos will be used in a  publication documenting the history of the power plant and construction/evolution of the Active Learning Center.

Writer: Hannah Harper, harper4@purdue.edu

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