August 22, 1988
New Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, Ind. -- Development of the Purdue Mall, at the heart of the Purdue University campus, into a park-like pedestrian area is underway, with work expected to be completed by May.
The mall will include a new water sculpture to replace the current fountain, new plazas and walkways, stone seating walls, earth mounding in planted areas and special lighting. All motorized traffic will be prohibited, except for emergency and service vehicles.
Kenneth P. Burns, vice president for physical facilities, said the project aims to convert the area into a people-oriented space that will provide pleasant, easy access for pedestrians. New walkways will serve the academic and administrative buildings that surround the space.
Turnarounds will be built at the ends of the campus streets that formerly fed traffic into the mall.
Hagerman Construction Corp. of Fort Wayne was recently awarded the contract for the $1.5 million project. Last May, the Purdue Board of Trustees rejected bids on the project because all of them came in over estimates. Purdue planners were able to keep the project within the budget through minor redesign and by extending the deadline for work completion.
"The good news is that we were able to approve the bid within budget without any significant changes in the design," said Burns.
Burns said the use of natural building materials such as limestone was retained; two decorative pedestrian entryways were deleted, but can be added later; and some costs associated with plantings will be absorbed by the Purdue Grounds Department.
The mall first appeared on the university's Master Plan for campus development in 1928. As Purdue grew, the mall evolved into the main entrance of the campus off Northwestern Avenue. It was recently enclosed by the construction of the new Materials and Electrical Engineering Building.
Burns said the new area will still serve as an arrival point, especially with the new Visitor Information Center across Northwestern Avenue, new walkways skirting the new building and the building's glass atrium, which permits visual access to the mall.
Loeb Fountain, the centerpiece of the mall in front of Hovde Hall, is to be moved to another part of the campus.
Burns said the second phase of the project will include the installation of an irrigation system, sod, and plants and trees. Some of the plantings will come from the university's nursery located on Newman Road. Once the construction work is completed next spring, it will take four planting seasons to complete all landscaping, Burns said.
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