Raysha Duncan, Purdue Alumni
It’s that time of year again…construction time. Since all (or most) students have left for the summer, it’s time for Purdue and West Lafayette to shut down the roads, paint, erect new buildings and tear old ones down.
Purdue’s Physical Facilities department has an entire webpage dedicated to Construction Notices and Maps letting those of us living and working on campus know what to expect over the summer. There’s even a friendly map that’s updated (monthly!) letting us know what areas will be impacted, traffic-wise. This summer alone there are 5 major projects taking place… And if Purdue knows the level of inconvenience these projects cause to faculty, staff, and students… then why do the projects?
These large construction projects have to be completed over the summer months. During the academic year, there are 40,000 plus people running around campus and over the summer most of those people go home. Anybody who’s on campus today can see that there is almost zero foot traffic and the cars that are driving around are mainly Purdue vehicles. One of the big projects taking place this summer is the demolition of the Engineering Administration Building (ENAD). This will continue into the fall semester as well (prepare to see a real-life wrecking ball!).
New buildings can go up while school is in session, but buildings can’t be torn down. The Center for Student Excellence and Leadership is finally finishing up construction and is going to provide a new home for student organizations, student success programs, and academic services – all under one roof. The Student Success Office moved into the Center for Student Excellence and Leadership on May 13th, just a week after finals ended and right after students went home. All of Purdue’s construction projects are centered on the students. While it may be kind of icky for the three months that school is out, at least traffic isn’t backed up year-round like the road construction in other areas of the state.
Okay, so the timing makes sense…but why so many new buildings? It’s simple really – to bring new opportunities to campus and improve what we already have at such a great university. The new Active Learning Center is breaking ground in Spring 2015, right where ENAD used to be. So, the offices from ENAD get a new home and we get a whole other building right where ENAD used to stand. This new building is going to provide a new learning environment that combines the classroom and the library. This building is just a stepping stone into creating new ways for Purdue students to engage in active learning.
The battle of construction at Purdue may never end, and we may sigh deeply each time we see a fork lift or crane on campus… But, it’s really all for the benefit of the students at Purdue.