December 6, 2019

Purdue trustees approve financing and plans for Data Science building, other campus facilities


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Board of Trustees voted Friday (Dec. 6) to approve the construction of a new $40 million facility dedicated to Data Science, designed to help the university meet its goal to be a national and global leader in the field of data science and education for all students. The facility is slated to open for use in 2022.

The flagship four-story building will be approximately 86,000 square feet, featuring not only classroom and teaching space for all of campus, but also group workspace for College of Science researchers and faculty who form the core of the university’s strong and growing data science program.

“By bringing together Purdue’s strengths in mathematics, statistics, and computer science within an innovative building design, we will further cement our leadership in a critical STEM area and fulfill our commitment to make Purdue the first school for which data science is a part of every student’s education, no matter their field of study,” said Patrick Wolfe, the Frederick L. Hovde Dean of the College of Science. “This is the new language of life, and it’s crucial that our students are prepared for this future.”

In the next 10 years, it is projected, 1 trillion sensing devices worldwide will be connected to the internet. This explosive combination of ubiquitous sensors, rapid data transmission and low-cost storage, and the commoditization of on-demand computing has ushered in a revolution in data science. Announced in 2018, Purdue’s Integrative Data Science Initiative demonstrates the institution’s commitment to fostering data literacy in its students by providing them the opportunity to learn about data science and data science research within their disciplines. A strategic institutional priority, Purdue’s undergraduate degree programs across the data and computational sciences are poised to grow significantly, illustrating the university’s commitment to preparing its students for this emerging segment of the economy, both in research and industry.

 “Data science and related fields will transform every sector of our economies and societies in the coming years and decades,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “This facility will ensure that Purdue’s students and faculty alike remain at the forefront of this acutely important new field.”

Construction is scheduled to begin in November 2020 with completion in June 2022.

Also on Friday (Dec. 6), university trustees approved planning, financing, construction and awarding of construction contracts for:

* Bands & Orchestras Building. This facility will consolidate more than 30 ensembles, percussion, concert bands and jazz bands into one integrated building. It will provide adequate space for the Bands & Orchestras program. The program’s student membership has grown by 65% since fall 2013. The facility will feature shared academic/rehearsal spaces, practice and instruction rooms and administrative offices for related faculty and staff. It will be located on the southeast corner of Third and North Russell streets and will require the demolition of an existing building. Construction will begin in September 2020, with completion slated for December 2021.

* Renovation of the 2550 Northwestern Ave. site. This project will include the renovation of approximately 100,000 square feet of office and support space to house Administrative Operations, Internal Audit, Treasury, Safety and Security, Risk Management, Human Resources, Accounting, Information Technology at Purdue, Sponsored Programs, and Financial Planning and Analysis. Consolidation of units in the facility will allow more core academic space to be made available and decrease the amount of leased space, resulting in lower annual rental expenses. Trustees approved the purchase of the facility in April, and the purchase was completed Sept. 30. Construction will begin in June 2020 with completion scheduled for May 2021.

* Child care facility. The new facility will serve approximately 150 children with rooms specific to infants, toddlers and preschoolers, nearly doubling the number of children served at the Patty Jischke Early Care and Child Education Center, which it replaces. Each room includes meal preparation areas and bathrooms. The approximately 16,600-square-foot facility will be built on the two-acre parcel adjacent to 2550 Northwestern Ave. in West Lafayette. Construction will begin in June 2020, with completion in December 2020. 

Trustees also approved the leasing of 79 apartments in Aspire at Discovery Park to provide 260 additional beds - 256 for students and four for residential advisors - for the 2020-2021 academic year.  

Writer: Tim Doty, 765-496-2571, doty2@purdue.edu 

Sources: Michael B. Cline, mbcline@purdue.edu

Patrick Wolfe, patrick@purdue.edu

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