Purdue University Northwest is constructing a brand new building on the Hammond campus. The Bioscience Innovation Building will open in 2020. On Thursday, University officials, along with local and state representatives, celebrated the monumental moment with students, faculty, and staff in an official groundbreaking ceremony.
Among the speakers were State Rep. Hal Slager (R-Schererville), Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, and PNW Chancellor Thomas L. Keon. Slager made education one of his top priorities since being elected to the Indiana General Assembly in 2012. He championed the project at the statehouse, rallying the support of other lawmakers that eventually led to an adoption of $35 million in state funds, ultimately making the building a reality.
“This institution, this campus, has become an anchor for Northwest Indiana,” said Slager. “Our campaign to educate my colleagues in the legislature was not only that Purdue Northwest was an anchor institution, but truly a gateway to Northwest Indiana.”
“What we are witnessing today is a transformational project for not only this campus, but all of Northwest Indiana,” said Slager.
The chief goal for the $40.5 million building is to design a cross-disciplinary educational space shared by programs in nursing and biology. The building’s estimated 68,000 square foot interior will be designed to create a dynamic learning environment promoting teamwork and encouraging dialogue within an agile space that can be adapted for future modifications and reconfigured as needs change. Once completed, the Bioscience Innovation Building will serve as a hub for quality education and for enhancing the healthcare field for Northwest Indiana.
“Health care is the number two economic driver in Northwest Indiana,” said Chancellor Thomas L. Keon. “There are many opportunities for Purdue Northwest to impact our students and faculty with this new building, and that flows over to all of Northwest Indiana. We are truly grateful for the tremendous support for this project from our legislative delegation, donors and alumni, as well as faculty and staff.”
McDermott, himself a PNW graduate, congratulated the university on not only fostering new opportunities for the future healthcare workforce, but for positively shaping the community of Hammond as a whole.
Two students were invited to speak at the ceremony, Tiffany Coffey and Kelley Sharp.
Coffey, who graduates this December and plans to work in pediatric nursing, recognizes what the facility will mean to future PNW nursing students.
“With the new building, it will be really great to have a place we can claim as our own for nursing,” she said.
Sharp, a pre-veterinary studies honors student and goalkeeper for PNW’s women’s soccer team, credits the smaller class sizes and opportunities for student research at PNW in preparing her for her dream of becoming a zoo veterinarian.
“The Bioscience Innovation Building will benefit students with updated lab equipment and provide them the opportunity to get involved in research, allowing them to make a difference in a field they are truly passionate about,” said Sharp.
The architect of the project is Cannon Design from Chicago. The construction manager as contractor is a joint venture between Berglund Construction and Power & Sons Construction Company from Chicago. Directly following the ceremony, everyone was invited to attend the Welcome Rally across campus where food, beverages, and goodies awaited. The day was bright at the Hammond PNW Campus, and the future is looking even brighter.