Trustees advance new learning center, renovations for College of Engineering strategic growth, IPFW buildings

September 12, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's Board of Trustees Physical Facilities Committee on Thursday (Sept. 12) approved planning and construction of the Active Learning Center, a 162,000-square-foot structure at the site of the aged Engineering Administration Building and the vacant heating and power north building at the heart of campus.

The committee also approved renovation and construction of space in several engineering buildings; the replacement of a chiller and removing a retired boiler from Wade Utility Plant; a new academic support center in Shreve Hall; upgrading windows in various buildings on campus; replacing and repairing portions of a tunnel; and infrastructure improvements to two Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne buildings.

The Engineering Administration Building and attached retired plant will be demolished to make way for the Active Learning Center. The center will include new classrooms anticipated to replace outdated classrooms in Lilly, Heavilon and Smith halls. The $79 million center will include both traditional lecture and modern active-learning classrooms and will accommodate the consolidation of existing library space in multiple facilities.

The state will provide $50 million for the project, and $13 million will be drawn from Purdue's capital reserve for buildings. The remainder will be funded by gifts.

The committee also approved a $70 million plan to renovate, reconfigure and repurpose space in several engineering buildings in support of the College of Engineering expansion plan. These could include the Electrical Engineering, Materials and Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering buildings, along with Grissom and Hampton halls, and the American Railway Building. The renovations will allow the College of Engineering to expand by almost 700 students and more than 200 new faculty and staff. A portion of the new Seng-Liang Wang Hall will be built out to temporarily accommodate engineering personnel who will be relocated as renovations proceed through each building. These renovations aim to accommodate 50 percent more people than at present.

The project will be paid for with $62.5 million in university funds with the remainder coming from gifts.

The committee also approved removing an aging Chiller No. 6 from the Wade Utility Plant and replacing it with two new electric-driven chillers. To maintain cooling in campus buildings during this process and increase flexibility in meeting future campus chilled water needs, the $10 million project also includes infrastructure to temporarily increase chilled water capacity at the Northwest Chiller Plant. The project will be paid for by bond proceeds or a combination of bond proceeds and university funds.

The committee also approved replacing, repairing or upgrading infrastructure at two buildings at the south end of the IPFW campus. Both buildings are approaching 50 years of age and remain viable but have mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems that are failing or are inadequate to meet contemporary educational needs.

The $21.35 million project will be paid for by state appropriations and will eliminate approximately 25 percent of IPFW's deferred repair and rehabilitation needs.

All of the above projects will be presented to the full board of trustees on Sept. 27 for its consideration and possible approval.

In business requiring only Physical Facilities Committee approval, trustees:

* Approved a resolution to contract with MPA Architects of South Bend, Ind., to plan an academic support center on the ground floor of Shreve Hall. The nearly 12,000-square-foot center will include organized and self-directed academic activity space for any student living in University Residences. The $3.9 million project includes new sprinklers for adjacent space and a new elevator and hoistway to improve accessibility. Housing and Food Services departmental funds will pay for the project.

* Awarded a $2.85 million contract to Brandenburg Industrial Service Co. of Chicago to remove retired Boiler No. 1 at the Wade Utility Plant to make way for future equipment. The $3.6 million project will be paid for with fee replacement bond proceeds.

* Approved replacing windows at Brown Laboratory, including a connecting walkway to Wetherill Laboratory and the windows at Meredith Hall, including the curtain walls at the stair towers. The committee approved resolutions to contract with Arsee Engineers Inc. of Fishers, Ind., to plan the two projects. The $3.75 million Brown Laboratory project will be paid for by university repair and rehabilitation funds. The $2.8 million Meredith Hall project will be paid for from Housing and Food Services departmental funds.

* Approved a $2.5 million project to replace, repair and waterproof portions of a tunnel that runs under Stadium Avenue. The committee approved a resolution to contract with CE Solutions, Inc. of Carmel, Ind., to plan the project. The project will be funded with repair and rehabilitation financing program bond proceeds.

* Approved a second option term for two job order contracts with two contractors, F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co., Inc. and F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen & Associates LLC. Each JOC contract is for a maximum of $4 million or a 12-month term, whichever comes first. The contracts cover fixed-price maintenance, repairs and construction for varied infrastructure, buildings and real estate on campus.

Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-494-6262, 

Sources: Michael B. Cline, vice president for physical facilities, 765-494-8000,

Ken Sandel, director of physical and capital planning, 765-494-6300,

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