The University broke ground for the the new Purdue Bands and Orchestra facility, which will be four stories high, on Thursday.
The $20 million building, Marc and Sharon Hagle Hall, will be located on the southeast corner of Third Street and Russell Street, and will be 37,500 square feet.
The project was named for Marc and Sharon Hagle as a result of the couple's $10 million leadership gift to the University. Marc Hagle, a Purdue Bands and Orchestra alumnus, was excited for the opportunities the building will present for future students.
“It is a project of passion and an opportunity to pay it forward,” Marc Hagle said. “I can’t even begin to tell you how honored Sharon and I are to be a part of this.”
Jay Gephart, director of Purdue Bands, thanked Purdue President Mitch Daniels and the Purdue Board of Trustees, who unanimously approved the initiative in December 2019, for sharing the program's vision and helping the project move forward.
“Excitement has been building in our department over the past few years as the dream for a new facility for Purdue dance and orchestras becomes this reality this time,” Gephart said. “This street will be transformed with the construction of what we think will be one of the most iconic structures on Purdue’s campus.”
Gephart spoke to the diversity and integrity of the students in the Purdue Bands and Orchestra, adding they come from all different backgrounds and are studying all different disciplines while still excelling at music. He said music was an integral part of bonding in the wake of COVID-19, and that the Band and Orchestra program played an integral part in facilitating relationships between students.
“Not only do our students get to play music at a high level, but they get to perform as a part of the music community building lifelong relationships,” Gephart said. “Many band and orchestra alumni still have close friends whom they first met in the ensemble.”
Beth McCuskey, vice provost for student life, said the program has warranted the expansion, growing exponentially in the last few years.
“In the five years proceeding and getting this going project approved, we grew a full 65%, and we're attracting the very best and brightest students,” McCuskey said. “For those who have a love of music, we want them to engage and we need the space to do it beyond simple square footage. However, this building will also serve as how a place for students to connect and learn, to figure out who they are and what contributions they will make at Purdue and beyond.”
Daniels echoed the sentiment that Purdue Bands and Orchestra was a fundamental aspect of campus, especially considering the limits placed on students due to COVID-19.
“We were determined to have our students back here for the fall, and so early on, I talked to (McCuskey) and said ‘One thing we can still do is encourage them in any way, so let’s hear music. Let’s fill this campus with the joy of that,'" Daniels said.
He took a moment to thank the student musicians present for the event for their perseverance in a semester of such uncertainty.
“The virus could not stop music, and we weren’t going to let it,” Daniels said. “Thank you, you have been a real ray of this kind of sunshine all fall.”
The building is expected to be completed as early as March 2022, according to a University press release.
The Hagles said they did not consider their contribution a charitable donation, but rather an investment in the future of the University.
“The band department plays a really strong role in building those bonds and those relationships and building the future of (the) University,” Marc Hagle said. “So, yes, Sharon and I are honored and proud to contribute some money for this project, but mostly we're excited about the future.”