Goshen News, Goshen, IN

State News

April 3, 2014

Long delayed Wang Hall nears completion

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — The long-delayed Seng-Liang Wang Hall, a $38 million Purdue University building on Northwestern Avenue, will open in August.

Initially envisioned as heavy mix of commercial business and the new home for School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the four-story, 147,000-square-foot facility will now be leased mostly to Purdue engineering programs, plus the Purdue Federal Credit Union and a few restaurants on the ground level.

Plans to expand the College of Engineering led to the shift in the building tenants, said Joe Hornett, Purdue Research Foundation chief operating officer. The foundation is developing the building with Indianapolis-based Browning Investments and is leasing space to Purdue.

"When President (Mitch) Daniels came up with the list of Purdue Moves, one of those was definite: we are going to expand the college," he said about how Wang Hall became more of an academic focus. "This is still mixed use. The tenants have changed."

As part of the expansion, goals are set to enroll 1,500 more engineering students by 2016, a 14 percent increase, and hire up to 107 additional faculty in the next five years.

The delay in Wang Hall's completion has been a mix of state and local approvals. In 2011 community members and some city officials raised concerns with Purdue Research Foundation about the project's impact on the adjacent New Chauncey Neighborhood. Those groups found compromise, yet much time passed before the State Budget Committee approved a sublease agreement between PRF and the university.

The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering will use about 41,000 square feet for laboratories, offices, conference rooms and more at the building just south of the intersection of Northwestern and Stadium avenues. Also in the building will be the School of Engineering Education and Center for Professional Studies, also know as ProStar. That program offers technical online courses, certifications and weekend programs.

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