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

September 27, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's Board of Trustees on Friday (Sept. 27) 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 board also approved renovation and construction of space in several engineering buildings, the replacement of a chiller, 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 The center will include new classrooms anticipated to replace outdated classrooms in Lilly, Heavilon and Smith halls.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 board 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 board 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 board also approved replacing, repairing or upgrading infrastructure at two buildings on 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.

The trustees also approved renewing the university's property insurance with Factory Mutual Insurance Co., Park Ridge, Ill. Auxiliary funds will be used to pay for the 2013-2014 premium of $2.18 million, a decrease from the previous year's $2.31 million premium. The policy provides broad peril property damage to Purdue's buildings and contents and covers lost revenue associated with covered losses. The policy provides a blanket $1 billion of coverage with an underlying deductible of $250,000 per occurrence. 

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, 

James Almond, senior vice president for business services, 765-494-9706,

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