sealPurdue News

July 9, 1999

Purdue trustees approve planning for new arts center

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Purdue Board of Trustees today (Friday, 7/9) authorized planning for a new home for the university's Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

The board also approved five other construction projects, including a new aquatics center and improvements to the Wade Power Plant.

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The $20.75 million arts building, which was funded as part of the state budget approved last spring, will include new academic, exhibit and administrative space. The facility, to be built at Marsteller and Wood streets, will house programs in art and design, theater, music and dance. Construction should begin next summer, and the work should be completed in two years, said Kenneth Burns, Purdue's executive vice president and treasurer. The new facility will replace the five Creative Arts Buildings near the intersection of Stadium and Northwestern avenues, which were built as "temporary" structures in the late 1940s.

The building will be the first phase of a new Visual and Performing Arts Center on the south campus. The entire complex will include a 2,200-seat performance hall, atrium, rehearsal rooms and an expanded John Purdue Room, a formal dining facility operated by students in Purdue's Department of Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional and Tourism Management. The $75 million needed to complete the project will be raised through private contributions.

Purdue President Steven C. Beering said the proposed arts center will enrich the educational opportunities for all Purdue students. "The vision for a new arts center is rooted in the notion that arts are not confined to students who pursue art performance or education as a career. Rather, all students -- indeed all who come into contact with the university -- are enhanced through exposure to and understanding of the fine arts," he said.

The Department of Visual and Performing Arts serves more than 500 undergraduate majors and 60 graduate students, and it supports several thousand students enrolled in applied, theoretical or historical art courses each year.

In other action, the trustees:

  • Awarded a contract for $15.2 million for a new competition swimming and diving pool as part of the Aquatics Center project on the West Lafayette campus. Kettelhut Construction Inc. of Lafayette submitted the low bid. The total cost of the project is $17.1 million, to be paid for entirely with gift funds.

  • Awarded a $9 million contract to Castle Construction Corp. of Markham, Ill., for reconstruction of the Anderson Building on the Calumet campus.

  • Authorized planning for phase two of a project to expand and renovate the Wade Power Plant and its electrical distribution on the West Lafayette campus. The state legislature last spring approved $18.55 million for several projects, including replacing a chiller and extending the life of a boiler for another 20 years. Electrical distribution to various campus buildings will also be upgraded.

  • Authorized a project to upgrade 140 guest rooms at the Purdue Memorial Union Club Hotel. The $9.5 million estimated cost will be paid out of hotel operating revenues.

  • Authorized improvements to the Recreational Gymnasium. A $5 million bond issue will fund the project, which will include renovating the basement for a training and fitness room, adding an elevator for accessibility, and upgrading the men's locker room.

  • Approved plans to complete the third floor of the Technology Building at Purdue North Central. The $3.55 million state-funded project will finish the building, providing space for the nursing program, the English department and two academic classrooms. In addition, ground floor student-activity space in the Library Student-Faculty Building will be renovated.

    Source: Kenneth Burns, (765) 494-9705

    Writer: Beth Forbes (765) 494-9723;

    Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

    Photo Caption:

    Purdue's trustees have approved planning for a new visual and performing arts center. The portion of the building to the left of the atrium will be built with state funds to house the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. The remainder of the project, which includes the atrium, a performance hall and galleries, will be financed from private donations. Construction will begin next summer. (Architectural drawing by Hammel Green & Abrahamson Inc.)

    Color photo, electronic transmission, and Web and ftp download available. Photo ID: Visual.performing

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