INFRASTRUCTURE

Indiana universities have been on a spending spree – Here are their latest investments

SOURCE: Indiana State University
ISU’s Hulman Center Renovations.

Indiana universities have been on a spending spree this year, investing in brand new centres and cutting-edge facilities that will set them apart in a highly competitive marketplace.

The midwestern state understands that to attract the best, you need to offer the best. And that’s exactly what Indiana universities are doing, especially in the field of STEM where innovation is the lifeblood of success.

Ball State University

A prime example of this is Ball State University’s US$87.5 million investment in a new Foundational Sciences Building in Muncie. The project is a major component of their wider drive to meet the growing demand for STEM professionals.

Teaming up with RATIO Architects, the university is yet to confirm who the lead contractor on the job will be, meaning this opportunity is still up for grabs for the right company.

Indiana universities
Ball State’s New Foundational Sciences Building. Source: Ball State

The 205,000 sq foot build will consist of a five-storey building housing six classrooms, 28 teaching and 44 research laboratories, a research library, an imaging suite, conference rooms, computer labs, collaborative space, and faculty offices.

“The Foundational Sciences Building is a significant step forward in meeting a critical need for the state of Indiana,” said Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns.

“The marketplace is seeking skilled and adaptable professionals who are knowledgeable, adept at critical thinking and problem-solving, and devoted to lifelong learning.”

Construction is slated for Autumn of this year, with the building expected to be ready for occupancy by 2021.

Purdue University

Purdue University is also upgrading, pouring US$14 million into the expansion of their Biomedical Engineering department. Updates include a new innovation wing to provide a platform for additional educational programmes, research capabilities, and industry outreach.

The new build will accommodate the ballooning faculty and student body of the Biomedical Engineering department, which has more than doubled since 2016 when it was opened.

“With a new Innovation Wing to our building, our goal is to grow our educational and research programmes by roughly 50 percent over the next several years,” said the head of Biomedical Engineering George Wodicka.

YOU MIGHT LIKE

“This growth is necessary to keep pace with the need for the innovation and translation of medical technologies and industry demand for biomedical engineers.”

The new 29,500 sq foot wing will support the latest teaching approaches, such as active learning, as well as house leading-edge equipment to aid the learning process. These include open-concept wet research labs; translational research labs, including a behavioural core; an expanded multidisciplinary student design lab; and support spaces for both instructional and research laboratories.

The contract was awarded to Walsh Construction and is nearing completion with the school planning a grand opening in September this year.

Indiana universities
The Innovation Wing will promote increased interdisciplinary synergies across Purdue and strong working partnerships with medical device companies. Source: Purdue University

Indiana State University

Another project off the starting blocks is the renovation of Indiana State University’s Hulman Centre. Having remained untouched for 45 years, this famous entertainment venue is in desperate need of a facelift.

Also coming from RATIO Architects, this US$50 million project includes replacing outdated mechanical and electrical systems, and failing exterior metal panel cladding and curtain walls. Safety systems will also be updated and new elevators installed.

The contract was recently awarded to Hannig Construction with construction set to start soon.

“We are excited to kick off this much-needed upgrade to a highly-used community asset,” said President of Indiana State University Deborah Curtis.

“We are looking forward to the countless community events, concerts, dinners, basketball games, lectures, and other activities that will take place in the newly-renovated Hulman Centre in years to come.”

The schedule is expected to run 24 months, after which Indiana will have its premier entertainment venue running at maximum capacity.