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Purdue commits to local upgrades

June 18th, 2018

By Ron Shawgo | The Journal Gazette

Changes at what will soon be the former IPFW campus keep coming.

Purdue University's board of trustees Friday approved a legislative capital project request for 2019-21, which includes $10 million to complete renovations of Helmke Library and Kettler Hall at its Fort Wayne campus.

The project is part of $79 million in state funding sought for three priority projects at the West Lafayette, Northwest and Fort Wayne campuses, the university said in a statement.

Purdue also seeks $60 million from the state for an engineering and polytechnic gateway in West Lafayette and $9 million for a chiller-plant upgrade and chilled water line replacement at the Northwest campus in Westville.

Purdue and Indiana University will end their decades-long agreement to operate IPFW June 30. They will maintain separate schools beginning July 1.

The Fort Wayne money would complete upgrades of classrooms and teaching labs, modern elevators and public areas, and replacement of failing mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, the statement said. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2020 with completion in the fall or winter of 2020.

The Helmke Library opened in 1972. School officials unveiled the completion of the first phase of renovations in January 2017, which brought the library up to date technologically. New computer labs, updated Wi-Fi, a writing center, honors center, a multimedia resources lab and a grand staircase were some of the additions. They also included complete electrical, heating-air conditioning and lighting renovations. The facility was closed for the work.

Kettler Hall, the main administration building and the first constructed on campus, opened in 1964. In 2016, it underwent renovations to include student study areas, high-voltage electrical renovation, fire sprinkler/alarm systems and replacement of air handling units. Modernization of classrooms in Kettler was partly funded by the last budget round, school spokeswoman Nicole Hahn said in an email. 

The latest money will be used to complete domestic water system renovations, update bathrooms, replace windows and modernize classrooms, Hahn said.