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A Web Letter from the Office of the Provost - September 2019

By Mary Jane Chew

Across Our Campus

Gateway complex to facilitate interdisciplinary efforts and growth

Work is underway on the first two buildings of the $140 million Engineering and Polytechnic Gateway Complex, which will wrap around Knoy Hall to serve both the College of Engineering and the Polytechnic Institute as well as initially providing temporary space for Data Science.

The complex will consist of two interconnected buildings standing four stories above ground. It will be more than twice the size of the buildings it replaces — the Nuclear Engineering Building and Michael Golden Laboratories. Design work is currently underway.

Most labs, offices and faculty members displaced in the Nuclear Engineering Building are being moved to swing locations such as Wang Hall and Potter Engineering Center. Others in Michael Golden will be moved by the end of the fall semester once their new homes are ready in Potter and elsewhere.

The state is funding $60 million of the project, and private funds — including $40 million from Lilly Endowment — are expected to provide the remaining $80 million. To encourage additional private support, $10 million of the Lilly Endowment's grant is subject to matching conditions. One building will be named Dudley Hall in honor of Bill and Marty Dudley's continued support.

After each existing building is emptied, salvage and abatement will follow so demolition and construction can begin in the spring. The new buildings are expected to be completed in the fall semester of 2022, with move-in late that semester. They will be open for business in January 2023 in time for the spring semester.

The Gateway Complex will become the home for student support services, some areas in Engineering and portions of four departments in Purdue Polytechnic: Engineering Technology, Construction Management Technology, Computer Graphics Technology, and Computer and Information Technology. The new facilities will include interdisciplinary instructional space, experiential project-based instructional laboratories, studios for senior design and capstone projects, and collaborative spaces for students. Digital infrastructure also will be incorporated allowing for growth in online course offerings and the creation of virtual laboratories.

Thomas Frooninckx, the Polytechnic's managing director, said, "We will use this new space to accommodate Polytechnic's growth in both enrollment and faculty research as well as improve efficiency by consolidating program spaces, especially for Engineering Technology, which has had to lease off-campus space for undergraduate instructional labs, and Construction Management Technology, which has had to use split construction labs across campus."

The Gateway Complex will provide highly sophisticated computer labs for students majoring in areas such as in cybersecurity, network engineering and systems analysis. It also will be home to a new advance manufacturing lab for which Engineering Technology faculty will design curriculum that incorporates state-of-the-art equipment and robotics provided by private-sector partners including Microsoft Corp., Caterpillar Inc., Rockwell Automation Inc., PTC Inc., Endress+Hauser Inc., and Kirby Risk Corp.

The Gateway Complex's student support space will serve both Engineering and Polytechnic, forming the eastern end of Purdue's Student Success Corridor, which runs along Third Street from Horticulture Park to Grant Street.  The buildings will include Engineering’s first-year academic advising and serve as a home for offices and programs such as Global Engineering, Engineering Honors, Minority Engineering and Minority Engineering Technology programs, the Office of Professional Practice, Engineering Undergraduate Research, and Women in Engineering and Women in Engineering Technology. Prospective students will start their visit to campus in the Gateway Complex through the Office of Future Engineers.

In addition, the Gateway Complex will house the Hoosier Hot Corner, a new way for Purdue and Indiana business to work together. The companies will have office and work space, providing opportunities for synergistic activities.  Students in Engineering and Polytechnic will be able to gain practical experience with Hoosier companies without ever leaving campus, increasing odds that they will remain in Indiana after graduation.

As some of the Engineering's student-related offices move out of their current home in Neil Armstrong Hall, that will create room to accommodate the dramatic growth in the College of Engineering's schools of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Materials Engineering, said Robert Frosch, the College of Engineering's senior associate dean for facilities and operations.

The construction manager is Indianapolis-based Shiel Sexton, which built Wang Hall and the Alexander Field baseball complex and renovated a portion of the Electrical Engineering Building. The Gateway buildings will be one of the largest academic spaces on campus, totaling approximately 250,000 gross square feet, only slightly smaller than Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.

As with many construction projects on campus, the building site poses some challenges for builders.

"It's a very tight site in the center of campus, but we will coordinate with everyone to ensure there is plenty of room to work around the buildings and utilities already there," said Rustin Meister, project executive in Purdue Physical Facilities. We also want to make sure everything integrates well with other improvements in the area. We recently put down new pavers on Central Drive up to the front entrance of Brown (H. C. Brown Laboratory of Chemistry). We will continue those pavers out to Grant Street to make it all look seamless."

As usual, planners also are keeping an eye on green space.

"The goal is always to add more trees than we take out," Meister said.

The Nuclear Engineering Building was erected in 1956. Michael Golden Laboratories dates to 1910. President Ronald Reagan visited the NSF-funded Engineering Research Centers in Michael Golden in 1987 and plans are to preserve a banner from that visit.

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