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April 5, 2013

Purdue trustees approve new insurance plan administrator, computing cluster, softball stadium

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (April 5) approved contracts for a new plan administrator for employee health insurance and to install a high-speed community research computing cluster, as well as construction of a new softball stadium.

The trustees, meeting on the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne campus, also approved a resolution of congratulations for Purdue men's and women's golf coach Devon Brouse.

In an effort to reduce the university's medical plan costs, trustees approved a three-year, $4.95 million contract to have Anthem administer medical insurance coverage and services for eligible faculty and  staff beginning Jan. 1. Based on 2013 medical claims, switching to Anthem is expected to save Purdue $7.5 million annually, of which $2 million will be savings to West Lafayette general funds for fiscal year 2013-2014.

"Anthem has a more extensive network with better negotiated network prices," said Luis E. Lewin, vice president for human resources. "It also was willing to partner with the onsite Center for Healthy Living and Castlight services to help provide customized healthcare strategies and help employees find the most affordable, high-quality caregivers."

A Purdue selection committee included representatives from human resources, faculty and staff advisory committees, and the Health Care Strategy Committee. Anthem was unanimously selected from a field that included UnitedHealthcare, IU Health Plans and current provider Cigna.

Trustees also approved a $4.3 million purchase for a Hewlett-Packard cluster-type supercomputer. The new supercomputer will help satisfy increased demand for computing capability from researchers in several fields, including nanotechnology, materials science, high-energy physics, climate simulation and aeronautical engineering.

Gerry McCartney, vice president for Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP) and the university's chief information officer, said the new supercomputer, to be named Conte, will help Purdue maintain its reputation as one of the best institutions for faculty to conduct research.

"ITaP will move aggressively to procure and build this machine to keep Purdue's large-scale research on the cutting edge of high-performance computing technology," said McCartney, who also serves as Purdue's Olga Oesterle England Professor of Information Technology. "Conte will provide users lower costs and professional support services and better utilize computing hardware and university data center facilities."

The system will be purchased from general funds, but ITaP expects to recoup approximately $2 million via research user fees, which will come largely from grant funds.

The trustees also approved construction of a softball stadium as part of the $13 million Phase II development of the Northwest Athletics Site that will include related site work and infrastructure. The stadium will seat up to 1,000 spectators with the ability to expand to the minimum capacity required to host NCAA postseason competition. The stadium will include a press box, scoreboard, lockerrooms, restrooms, concessions and meeting rooms.

The Ross-Ade Foundation will lease the land while the stadium is constructed, and the university will use athletics department funds to lease the facility upon completion. The project is the final component of the Mackey Complex/NWAS master plan developed in 2005-06 as part of Intercollegiate Athletics' 25-year facility master plan.

Trustees also approved a resolution of congratulations for Brouse. In December 2012 he was inducted into the Women's Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame, becoming the 45th person to receive the honor and the only individual to be inducted into both the women's and men's golf coaches' halls of fame. Brouse, a 1971 graduate of Purdue, returned to his alma mater in 1998 and is in his 15th season as head coach and director of golf operations for the university's golf teams. His women's teams have won five Big Ten team championships and six Big Ten individual medals and he has received five Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. He was named the Women's Golf Coaches Association and Golfweek's national coach of the year in 2006 and 2010.

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

 Greg McClure, gmcclure@purdue.edu

Sources: Luis Lewin, 765-494-7395, luislewin@purdue.edu

Gerry McCartney, 765-496-2270, mccart@purdue.edu