sealPurdue News

June 7, 2002

Trustees advance Discovery Park projects, OK alumni center work

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Board of Trustees today (Friday, 6/7) voted to advance two Discovery Park projects: building a biosciences-engineering facility and increasing the investment in the Birck Nanotechnology Center from $51 million to $56.4 million.

The board also approved a construction contract for the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center. Kettlehut Construction, Lafayette, submitted a $10.4 million construction bid to build the center, designed to become a showcase for Purdue achievements and home to the Purdue Alumni Association and University Development Office.

In other business, the board also awarded a contract to Kettlehut Construction for a $9.9 million project to renovate Cary Quadrangle West. This is the third phase of the renovation project to upgrade the facility with additional space in each room, semi-private baths, air conditioning and newer computer and telephone capabilities.

The biosciences-engineering facility approved by the board is one of four major centers currently planned for the $100 million Discovery Park. The other centers are the Birck Nanotechnology Center, a center for entrepreneurship and an e-enterprises center.

The biosciences-engineering center will support a variety of projects, some of which will explore genomics, which is the mapping of individual genes of living organisms and then figuring out how those thousands of genes function.

The center will connect researchers in the life sciences with engineers in the nanotechnology center. Research will focus initially on the interdisciplinary fields of biomedical engineering and proteomic analysis. Proteomics involves identifying and studying proteins formed in living systems when specific genes are activated.

Flad and Associates of Madison, Wis., will provide architectural services for the $15 million, 50,000 square-foot biosciences-engineering facility. The center will include a research laboratory with staff offices to support a variety of research projects and learning opportunities in genomics, biomedical engineering and proteomic analysis.

One focus of biomedical engineering will be tissue engineering, creating materials from animal tissue that can promote healing in people. Two Indiana companies hold licenses from Purdue to develop the technology.

The board also approved increasing the authorized amount of funding from $51 million to $56.4 million for Discovery Park's first building, the Birck Nanotechnology Center. Construction of the three-floor facility is expected to begin January 2003 and be completed in the summer of 2004.

Kenneth Burns, Purdue's executive vice president and treasurer, said the increase will enable the university to build a larger facility and thereby maximize space needed for research clean rooms and laboratories. The additional funds for the project will better ensure the quality level required for nanotechnology research, Burns said.

In 2000 a committee of researchers prepared an academic program statement, a document required for every new building, and estimated it would cost approximately $60 million to fulfill Purdue researchers' original vision.

The $56.4 million includes approximately $46.6 million from gift funds, $5 million from state appropriations and $4.7 million in federal funding from NASA, the Department of Energy and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Purdue received a $30 million gift from Chicago-area couple Michael and Katherine (Kay) Birck toward the nanotechnology center last September. Birck, a member of the university's board of trustees, has held leadership roles with the Purdue Alumni Foundation and Purdue President's Council. He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1960. Birck helped start Tellabs Inc. in 1975 and is now the company's chairman. Tellabs develops and manufactures telecommunications equipment and is based in Lisle, Ill. The Bircks live in Hinsdale, Ill., where Kay Birck is head of nursing at Women's Healthcare of Hinsdale.

Purdue alumni Donald and Carol Scifres also donated $10 million to the Birck Nanotechnology Center. Scifres, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, is an electrical engineer who holds more than 130 patents. He is co-chairman of the board and chief strategy officer of JDS Uniphase Corp., an optical communications company. Both he and his wife, Carol Scifres, are Purdue graduates and Greater Lafayette area natives. Donald Scifres earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1968. Carol Scifres is a 1969 Purdue graduate.

In recognition of the gift, a wing of the new nanotechnology center will be named for Scifres' father, Ray, a member of Purdue's electrical engineering staff for 35 years before retiring in 1975.

HDR Inc., a worldwide architectural-engineering firm headquartered in Omaha, Neb., is designing the facility. The Birck center, announced in September, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2004.

Discovery Park will be developed on about 40 acres bounded by State Street on the north, Nimitz Drive on the south, Airport Road on the west and South Intramural Drive on the east.

The Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center will feature a central atrium with space available to display Purdue information and artifacts. The facility also will have a lounge and banquet facility that can accommodate up to 80 people.

Construction of the three-story, 67,000 square-foot center – paid for entirely from private sources – will take about 15 months. Work will not start until the project is approved by the state.

Dauch, a Michigan industrialist and a former Boilermaker student athlete, and his wife, Sandy, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., gave $3 million toward the university's first alumni center. The longtime Purdue benefactors are responsible for more than $10 million in support in recent years.

The renovation of Cary Quad West will make it fully handicap accessible. The project calls for renovations to the facilities services shop and the student recreational lounge in the basement, which also will include a new student laundry

The project is part of $43.5 million six-phase, six-year plan to renovate Cary, a five-building complex that was built in phases starting in 1928. The renovation will not involve tax dollars or general student fees.

Cary Quad's housing capacity will be 1,135 students after the complete remodeling project concludes. The quad currently has about 1,540 residents.

In other business the board rejected all bids for the Purdue University-Calumet's Gyte Laboratory renovation project.

Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073;

Sources: Kenneth Burns, (765) 494-9705;

Wayne Kjonaas, vice president for physical facilities, (765) 494-8000,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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