Purdue’s Board of Trustees approved a number of construction projects at Friday’s meeting.
In June, the trustees gave the go-ahead to an exploratory group to develop a proposal for two new residence halls, Third Street North and Meredith South. The decision came as the University prepares to place incoming students in temporary housing because interest in on-campus residences continues to outpace infrastructure growth.
Plenary Properties Purdue was selected in July as the preferred proposer for the two facilities, which will boast 1,300 beds. The company is a subsidiary of the Plenary Group, an Australian infrastructure company previously tapped for the State Street Project.
The board approved the proposal and instructed chief financial officer Bill Sullivan to finalize the negotiations, according to a press release. Construction is expected to begin in November 2018, and the plan is to have the facilities open in time for the 2020-21 academic year.
Third Street North will include 570 of the 1,300 beds and will be a six-story building on Russell Street, just north of the Black Cultural Center. Meredith South will be south of the preexisting Meredith Residence Hall on First Street. It will be eight stories tall and include 728 beds.
Both facilities will offer “grab and go” dining operations, managed by Purdue Dining and Catering, according to the release. Beth McCuskey, vice provost for student life, said Friday the operations are not guaranteed to be the same as the On-the-GO! locations in Windsor and Earhart residence halls as they are still considering several different options.
At the meeting Friday, trustees assured the quality of the new residence hall will be the same as that of any existing dorm, though construction of the two residence halls marks the first time the University is contracting third parties to maintain dorms.
Plenary Properties will perform and initially finance most back-office operations for 65 years, in place of Physical Facilities, which normally conducts maintenance and the like in the dorms.
The arrangement stabilizes costs for the University, and passes on costs of unexpected maintenance, like that of Hillenbrand Residence Hall's recent $12 million sewer replacement, to the developer.
The trustees also approved projects in existing buildings. The Heine Pharmacy Building and the Physics Building will see work done to their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Hillenbrand Residence Hall will receive bathroom repairs and a replaced sewer system. The bathrooms in Shreve will also be renovated.
The Wetherill Laboratory of Chemistry will have fume hood exhaust fans replaced, and more than 50 buildings will have exterior fiber-optic cables installed. Interior fiber-optic cables will be routed to 193 telecommunications rooms across campus as well, according to the release, increasing the capacity of the campus data network.
The board also approved an appropriations request totaling $31.2 million for the 2019-20 fiscal year and $32 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year, according to the release. The request will be submitted to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education in September, when the ICHE will review it and make a recommendation to the Indiana General Assembly.
The appropriation proposal requests funding for Purdue Polytechnic Statewide, The Center for Paralysis Research, the Technical Assistance Program and the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center.
The University, according to the release, also requested $4 million in 2020-21 for the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.