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October 22, 2007

Purdue first family moves into 75-year-old renovated Westwood home

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's astronaut alumni will be among the first to visit the university's remodeled Westwood residence on Saturday (Oct. 27) as guests of President France A. Córdova and her husband, Chris Foster.

They will be among the first guests of Purdue's first family, who share their home with thousands of guests every year. Since arriving on campus in July, the couple had lived in temporary housing while the university repaired and renovated the 17,300-square-foot Tudor-style home, which doubles as a meeting and entertainment facility for the university's guests. They moved to Westwood about a month ago as finishing work took place.

"With the change in administration, we took that opportunity to tackle many much-needed projects," said Purdue architect Larry Fusaro.

Westwood sits along a drive lined with trees, gardens and lawns just off McCormick Road on the west edge of the Purdue West Lafayette campus. Built in 1932, Westwood was 6,959 square feet and valued at $1 million when it was donated to the university in 1971 by R.B. Stewart, Purdue's former chief financial officer. The house is on 17 acres, some donated by Stewart and others acquired by the university.

Much of the first level - which comprises two-thirds of the home - is dominated by spaces designed for large-scale entertaining, including two living rooms, a garden room, catering kitchen, breakfast and dining rooms, a guest bedroom, and four bathrooms. Last fiscal year it was the venue for 177 events that drew 5,629 guests.

"The facility gets a great deal of use," Fusaro said. "That works out to one event every other day. All that activity takes its toll."

The second floor is the family quarters, which includes three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a study and a storage room. The partially finished basement includes a recreation room, a room for spill-over guest events, laundry and dishwashing rooms, a half-bath, and storage space.

Half of the $309,066 in renovation work involved the catering and events area. Almost a third of the total was spent on repair and maintenance for the building's exterior and first floor, with the most expensive item being $44,800 for new air-handling controls. The remainder was spent in the family living area for replacement of worn carpet, painting, and plumbing and electrical systems.

"Fortunately, the university could do some of this work using its own employees," Fusaro said. "The rest will come from the Purdue Research Foundation. No tax dollars or student fees will be used."

The last major update on the 75-year-old house began 13 years ago, in 1994 during the term of President Steven C. Beering, when Purdue renovated infrastructure and built a four-season garden room that can seat more than 100 guests for dinner.

Purdue's president is required to live at Westwood as a condition of employment.

Source: Jeanne Norberg, Purdue News Service director, (765) 494-2084, (765) 491-1460 (cell),

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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