April 17, 2004
Historic building becomes state-of-the-art research facility
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - One of the oldest buildings on Purdue's campus is now among the university's newest research and teaching facilities.
Pfendler Hall, built in 1901 as the original home for the School of Agriculture, has had a $16 million facelift and will be dedicated today (Saturday, 4/17) at a 9:30 a.m. ceremony. The building, formerly called Agricultural Hall, and later Entomology Hall, was vacated in 1999 because of its deteriorating condition.
After extensive renovations Pfendler Hall now includes new classrooms, a spatial modeling computer lab, and office space for faculty, staff and graduate students. An addition to the building, which houses several new laboratories and a large auditorium, connects it to Whistler Hall.
Faculty and graduate students with the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, including its Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC), and School of Agriculture staff call the newly renovated building home.
"Pfendler Hall is a building that's rich in the history of Purdue University," said President Martin C. Jischke. "For many years it was the heart of the School of Agriculture, and it provides an ideal place for the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources to flourish in the 21st century."
Pfendler Hall was listed in the state historic register in March, according to the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, making it the first building on campus listed on the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures. It was named Pfendler Hall in 2001 in honor of the late David C. Pfendler, a 38-year employee of Purdue who retired in 1974 as the School of Agriculture's associate dean.
Pfendler Hall provides much-needed space to the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, which had outgrown its facilities. The department will now occupy the Forestry Building, Forest Products Building and Pfendler Hall.
"Pfendler Hall brings all of our forestry laboratory research programs together under one roof and provides a place where we can bring together scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service to work in partnership with our faculty," said Victor Lechtenberg, dean of the School of Agriculture. "Here we have state-of-the art facilities for conducting basic research in forestry in a collaborative setting."
The new building also provides an interactive environment for graduate students in the department's programs in fisheries, forestry and wildlife.
Most research programs separate graduate students into small labs affiliated with their individual faculty advisers, but graduate students in Pfendler Hall will work in large labs with space for up to 45 students.
"The large-lab format allows us to group graduate students with similar research and equipment needs together in one place," said Charles Michler, director of the HTIRC. For example, students studying the genetics of fish populations and students studying tree genetics share the same lab.
"This arrangement will give us a good cross-fertilization of ideas between graduate students from the various programs in the department," he said.
Pfendler Hall represents an architectural style known as Beaux-arts classicism, a style popular at the turn of the 20th century, and was renovated following historic design standards established by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior.
"We are proud to be located in this historic building," said Dennis LeMaster, head of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. "This renovation and expansion gives new life to a campus landmark. It represents an investment in Purdue's past as well as an investment in its future."
The John S. Wright Fund for the Promotion of Forestry in Indiana provided $12 million for the renovation and expansion, with the remainder provided by private donors and the USDA Forest Service.
Writer: Jennifer Cutraro, (765) 496-2050, email@example.com
Sources: Martin C. Jischke; (765) 494-9708
Victor Lechtenberg; (765) 494-8391, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis LeMaster, (765)494-3590, email@example.com
Charles Michler: (765) 496-6016, firstname.lastname@example.org
A publication-quality photograph is available at http://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/+2004/pfendler-reno.jpg