September 12, 2002
Purdue chemical engineering to break ground for expansion
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. The Purdue University School of Chemical Engineering will break ground Sept. 28 on a more than $20 million expansion, the largest in the school's history.
The school will build a five-story, 96,000-square-foot addition on the current building and equip the new and existing facilities with state-of-the-art technologies and high-performance instrumentation.
This is the first academic building in the Schools of Engineering to be funded entirely from private sources. Construction is scheduled to begin in October and be complete before classes begin in 2004.
"Chemical engineering's step toward the future represents the aspirations of Purdue," said Purdue President Martin C. Jischke. "This investment, devoted to education, research, engagement of students and faculty and collaboration among faculty and industry partners, will yield benefits and discoveries on the frontiers of engineering."
These frontiers, Jischke said, are being explored with research in a wide array of fields including the design of systems for selective chemical synthesis, self-assembly of nanostructured materials, biomolecular engineering, DNA chips or "lab-on-a-chip" devices, and metabolic engineering.
The groundbreaking will culminate this year's Discover Purdue Week, which will include the announcement of the university's fund-raising campaign, homecoming events and other project announcements. Chemical engineering alumni, faculty, students, staff, university officials, corporate friends and guests will celebrate the occasion as backhoes break through an asphalt and concrete parking lot behind the Chemical Engineering Building to begin construction.
Linda Katehi, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the Schools of Engineering, called the project a major step toward achieving the schools' strategic goals.
"Purdue engineering's vision to achieve preeminence depends on the quality and accomplishments of our students and faculty," Katehi said. "For them to achieve this level success, we must provide the finest tools and a stimulating environment. The envisioned highly flexible, state-of-the-art addition to the Chemical Engineering Building will empower these gifted individuals and sharpen our ability to compete for other talented students and faculty.
"The new classrooms, laboratories and research complexes will provide our undergraduate and graduate students, as well as our faculty, a setting in which they can achieve excellence."
G.V. Reklaitis, head of the School of Chemical Engineering said donors responded to the new learning and research environment envisioned in the facility's design.
"Our long-term supporters of the school are concerned with its well-being, growth and leadership in the chemical engineering profession," he said. "Their gifts have allowed us to reach for our objectives to be the premier chemical engineering school. They recognized the need to modernize our building and programs to remain leaders in chemical engineering research and education."
Among the features of the building will be an atrium that will connect the current building and the new addition and provide an environment for discussion, networking and collaborations among students, faculty, industry representatives and other visitors. The atrium also will serve as a display area to honor alumni, volunteers and the school's partners and investors.
Another feature of the addition will be a 200-seat amphitheater-style interactive multimedia classroom. The state-of-the-art classroom will allow students to participate in a variety of interactive class activities, using multimedia and videoconferencing technologies.
Facilities enhancements include an instructional laboratory complex that will be used for demonstrating chemical engineering fundamentals to second- and third-year students, as well as state-of-the-art labs for experiments in advanced reaction and polymer engineering systems for upper division students.
Faculty and graduate students working in bioengineering, nanomaterials and catalysis and surface science research will have their own "research cluster" areas designed to foster collaboration.
The expansion in chemical engineering is part of a campaign by the Schools of Engineering that is projected to exceed $400 million and expand overall engineering research and teaching facilities by 60 percent. The Schools of Engineering's master plan calls for $250 million in new construction, $100 million in new equipment and $60 million in renovations to meet anticipated needs for the next 15 to 20 years. Purdue's engineering program, with 13 schools and almost 6,200 undergraduate students, is one of the largest in the nation. The School of Chemical Engineering enrolls about 110 graduate and 400 undergraduate students.
In 1907 Purdue's Board of Trustees approved a "chemical engineering curriculum" within the Department of Chemistry. The first bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering was awarded in May 1909. In 1911, the trustees approved a recommendation to establish Purdue's School of Chemical Engineering. A graduate program followed in 1916. More than 9,000 students have earned undergraduate and advanced degrees from the school.
Writer: Grant Flora, (765) 494-2073; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708
Linda Katehi, (765) 494-5346, email@example.com
G.V. Reklaitis, (765) 494-4075, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bettina McConnell, associate director of development and alumni relations, School of Chemical Engineering: (765) 494-4065; email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/reklaitis.groundbreak.jpeg.
The new atrium of the Purdue University School of Chemical Engineering will connect the current building and a new addition to provide an environment for discussion, networking and collaborations among students, faculty, industry representatives and other visitors. The School of Chemical Engineering will break ground on a more than $20 million facilities expansion project, the largest in school history, Saturday, Sept. 28. The school will build a five-story, 96,000-square-foot addition on the current building and equip the facility with state-of-the-art technologies and high-performance instrumentation.
A publication-quality photograph is available at ftp://ftp.purdue.edu/pub/uns/reklaitis.groundbreak2.jpeg.