October 7, 2022

Trustees OK $56.6M to renovate three academic halls, libraries; endorse recommendations from Classroom Master Plan

Innovations will enhance student experience

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Friday (Oct. 7) approved a $46.6 million transformation of University, Beering and Stanley Coulter halls, and a $10 million renovation of libraries facilities on the West Lafayette campus, two major construction projects aimed at enhancing the student academic experience and student success. Trustees also endorsed a list of recommendations from the recently completed Classroom Master Plan to update the learning spaces of more than 90 classrooms on campus.

The University Hall project includes a complete restoration of the five-story, 34,200-square-foot building. Related to this project, the renovation of 39,100 square feet in Beering Hall and 17,400 square feet in Stanley Coulter Hall will accommodate the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and address the need for classroom, student-focused study and collaboration spaces. Construction will start in December 2023, with a planned project completion date of July 2026.

The second major project calls for relocating books and renovation of 38,000 square feet of space in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Education (HSSE) Library in Stewart Center and the Mathematical Sciences Library in the Mathematical Sciences Building, along with other book storage locations on campus. Construction will begin next June, with the project scheduled to be completed in December 2023.

“The major renovations to University, Beering and Stanley Coulter halls and our libraries facilities, in tandem with the implementation of recommendations from the Classroom Master Plan, are part of a comprehensive strategic goal to make Purdue University the most innovative residential learning program in the U.S. among large research universities,” said Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity.

“I know our students will thrive in these refurbished and upgraded educational environments, and our instructors will take full advantage of these spaces to deliver the very best in active and experiential learning.” 

university-hall University Hall (Purdue University file photo) Download image

University Hall and related renovations

The restored University Hall will provide a core-campus study and collaboration area for students, faculty and staff, updated classrooms, and more efficient student services spaces. 

At Beering and Stanley Coulter halls, students will benefit from enhanced, modern working and study environments along with the creation of a 180-seat active learning classroom in Beering Hall. A languages and culture hub will be established at Stanley Coulter, providing a new home for the Department of English, which will move from Heavilon Hall. 

Throughout the three buildings, student-focused spaces will be created where offices, labs and classrooms are currently located, and remaining office spaces are being renovated to meet CLA’s current and future needs.   

“This project is a great example of what can be accomplished when the academic side of the university works with the administrative side to achieve common goals for the entire enterprise,” said David A. Reingold, the Justin S. Morrill Dean of Liberal Arts. “I am grateful to the many faculty, staff and graduate students across our college who participated in conversations to help shape this project. I am proud of this partnership and excited to restore Purdue’s most iconic building, University Hall, to its original place as a vibrant student center.”

Once this project is completed, occupants in Heavilon Hall will relocate to these remodeled spaces. Heavilon Hall, a three-story, 97,500-square-foot building constructed in 1956, will then be taken down, with plans for the space to be announced later.

University Hall, originally called “The Main Building” when it opened in 1877, was last remodeled in 1961 and is the only remaining building from Purdue’s original six-building campus. In the past, University Hall has been used for classrooms, was home to Purdue’s first library and a chapel, and was the president’s office until Fowler Hall was built in 1904.

“The restoration of University Hall provides us with an opportunity to transform the oldest building on the West Lafayette campus to a student-centric hub with ample space for studying and collaboration, allowing it to be enjoyed for generations of future Boilermakers,” said Jay Wasson, vice president for physical facilities and chief public safety officer.

Libraries renovations

The libraries renovation project will include finish updates and new furniture to create student study space in the core of campus. Additionally, preparation work will be completed at 2550 Northwestern Ave., a 48,600-square-foot facility where high-density shelving will be installed to create a book repository.

“The relocation of books to a campus-adjacent facility frees up valuable space in the heart of the academic campus to serve our growing population of students,” said Rob Wynkoop, associate vice president of Auxiliary Services.

Current libraries book storage at HSSE, Math and the Hicks Undergraduate Library, as well as at Lynn Hall, will be relocated to 2550 Northwestern Ave., allowing for the renovation to HSSE and MATH. Space vacated in Hicks and Lynn Hall will be repurposed in the future.

Classroom Master Plan recommendations

Drawing from a year’s worth of campuswide input, Akridge submitted to the trustees an initial Campus Master Plan recommendation, topped by an $8.4 million proposal to renovate 92 existing classrooms over four years. At a total of 116,020 square feet of space, this renovation would impact 35% of all classrooms at the West Lafayette campus.

This recommendation, which is aimed at enhancing space to better support active and experiential learning, and fostering even more interaction between Purdue instructors and students, includes the renovation of 31 classrooms that currently are designated as “moderate/needs work,” Akridge said.

Additional recommendations stemming from the Master Classroom Plan call for:

  • $5 million to be set aside for future, centrally scheduled classroom construction/remodel projects.
  • A study, projected to cost $500,000, to be launched for assessing additional classroom capacity in alignment with demand and to explore the creation of innovative learning spaces at two other campus locations.
  • The proposed Nursing Pharmacy Education Building (eight new classrooms) to be integrated into the plan’s findings and recommendations.

Recommendations from the Classroom Master Plan also included the project approved Friday by trustees to proceed with the $10 million renovation for transforming libraries facilities into modern student study spaces.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last five years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Writer and Media Contact: Phillip Fiorini, pfiorini@purdue.edu, 765-430-6189.

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