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Major University Construction Projects Get State Support

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July 24, 2013 — from TheStatehouseFile.com reporter Olivia Covington:

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana State University will get new science labs, Purdue University will build a new learning center and Ivy Tech students in Bloomington will have more space in their academic building once they receive the funding the state allocated for university construction projects in the current state budget.

Nineteen state universities – almost all of Indiana’s public colleges – will be able to either construct or renovate buildings and classrooms on their campuses with money from the 2014-2015 spending plan, which took effect this month.

Traditionally, the state has provided funding for university construction using bonds that are generally paid off over 20 years. But the current budget allows the universities to pay for all or part of their capital projects in cash, a method of payment that

Purdue University will construct an Active Learning Center on its West Lafayette campus with the $50 million the state allocated to the school.

“In our legislative capital request, the Active Learning Center was our number one priority because this project will provide spaces that allow better integration between formal and informal learning environments and will promote greater engagement and collaboration of students and instructors in an active learning process,” said Purdue Director of Physical and Capital Planning Ken Sandel.

The Active Learning Center will consist of a library and classrooms. The library will be considered “informal learning space” and will cover 38,000 square feet. Sandel said the library is meant to be a place where students and professors can work together in an informal study space outside of the classroom.

“The facility will have the latest technology integrated throughout to support learning and study today and into the future,” he said.

The Active Learning Center will replace classroom space in three current facilities.

Sandel said the university still needs $29 million to fully fund the project. He said fundraising efforts to raise this money have just started, and Purdue will wait until it has more funds to begin the project. He estimated that the project will begin in late 2017 or 2018.

Purdue also received an additional $23.7 million for construction of a student services center on its North Central campus.

Lawmakers also allocated Indiana State University $4.5 million to complete the renovation of its life science and chemistry labs.

Lawmakers approved $14.8 million in funding in 2007 and nearly $9 million in 2009 for that project and a satellite chilled water plant. The plant is completed but the school has only renovated six labs.

The university’s budget request says Indiana State’s current labs “show significant signs of wear, are outdated for the instructional needs of current students and fail to meet contemporary OSHA standards for laboratory safety.”

The school’s goal is to improve lab safety and access, enhance educational opportunities and help meet the state’s workforce needs.

Specifically, the new labs will be equipped with up-to-date fume hoods, eye washes, emergency showers and instructional technology. They would also be more accessible to wheelchair-bound students. Additionally, the university says in the budget request that better labs would enhance students’ education, making them better prepared to fill the jobs available in their field in Indiana.

A spokesperson for Indiana State said the university hopes to begin renovating next spring. But the school does not have a deadline to complete the project yet because all of the labs can’t be out of service at the same time.

The state budget also allocates $16 million for renovations to the university’s Normal Hall, but the State Budget Committee has yet to officially approve this funding.

An expansion on the Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington campus will be partially funded by $20 million from the state. The school will expand its 148,000 square foot academic building an additional 85,000 square feet, Chancellor John Whikehart said.

Like Indiana State, Ivy Tech initially received funding from the state – to the tune of $20 million – for the project in 2007. Whikehart said the total cost of the project will be $24 million, so the school will need to raise an additional $4 million from private donors.

Whikehart said the school has already started planning with contractors and is waiting for the state to officially sign off on the funding to fully start the project. He said he hopes to have the building’s design completed by late this fall, and then to break ground in the spring.

Whikehart said if construction goes as planned, faculty and students will be able to re-enter the building in fall 2015. But he said it could be as late as spring 2016 is construction is delayed.

Ivy Tech’s Anderson campus was also allocated $20 million for construction projects. The school’s Hamilton County and Indianapolis Fall Creek facilities were also included in the state budget, receiving $12 million and $23.1 million, respectively.

Other capital projects on state universities include:

  • Ball State, $12.2 million, central campus renovation Phase III
  • Ball State, $33.1 million, geothermal Phase I and Phase II
  • Indiana University Bloomington, $21 million, academic core renovation
  • Indiana University Northwest/Ivy Tech, $45 million, Tamarack Hall
  • Indiana University Evansville, $2 million, medical education center architecture and engineering
  • Indiana University, $29 million, regional campus renovations (Bloomington, Evansville, Kokomo, Northwest, Southeast)
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, $21.4 million, south campus renovation
  • University of Southern Indiana, $18 million, classroom renovation and expansion
  • Vincennes University, $6 million, Aviation Technology Center
  • Vincennes University, $6 million, infrastructure improvements
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