State Rep. Sheila Klinker says Indiana State Budget Committee has given go-ahead for two Purdue projects

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Sheila Klinker (D-Lafayette) said the State Budget Committee agreed to allow Purdue University trustees to proceed with the first floor renovation of the Brees Student-Athlete Academic Center and allow the university to negotiate for the lease of space inside the Convergence Building in Discovery Park.

The projects were approved during the committee’s Wednesday, Aug. 15 meeting on the University of Southern Indiana campus.

The $2.7 M project for the Brees Center will create an academic space for all student athletes. The 10,300 gross square foot area will transform a former locker room into a flexible classroom, a study hall, group study rooms, and tutoring space. A mentoring program for student athletes with documented learning disabilities, called the Vanguard Program, will also be located on the first floor. Purdue’s Gift Funds will be used for the entire project.

The Purdue Research Foundation’s Convergence Building is located on west State Street in Discovery Park. The unique setup in the five-story building will promote academic-industry collaboration and attract additional private industry companies to locate in Discovery Park. The annual rent for the 30,000 square foot space is estimated to be $570,000 per year, which will be funded Purdue University’s Operating Funds.

“I am pleased the State Budget Committee gave its approval for both of these projects,” said Klinker, who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, where the state budget originates.

“The university has always been committed to the belief that athletes at Purdue are student-athletes. Academics are more important to the overall development of these men and women than their athletic training.

“While Purdue’s student athletes are tremendously talented on the field and on the court, few will become professional athletes, so it is critical that each student athlete receive the quality education for which Purdue is famous,” added Klinker. “These men and women will honor the university not only on the field, but also in workplaces throughout the world.

“The lease of the Convergence Building is also exciting because of the potential that exists in the arrangement,” continued Klinker.

“Faculty and students will be able to collaborate through research, licensing and startup with the private sector. It will enable students to gain entrepreneurial experience and offer companies the research muscle that a world-class university, like Purdue, can offer. I believe this arrangement will be highly successful and lead to greater collaborative efforts between Purdue and the private sector in the coming decades.”

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