Hershman, Alting secure Purdue University funds for capital projects

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Purdue University’s need to update and renovate their campus medical facility and student recreation center may be fulfilled as newly-released state budget figures include funding for those projects.

State Sens. Brandt Hershman (R-Wheatfield) and Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) worked to include Purdue’s funding in the planned $28.1 billion, two-year state budget released today by Senate Republicans.

Hershman, a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, said in anticipation of a state and national shortage of physicians, the Indiana University School of Medicine in Lafayette plans to increase class sizes by 30 percent over the next few years.

“One of the prevailing health care issues today is the decline in medical school graduates,” Hershman said. “Currently, Indiana University School of Medicine in Lafayette does not have the classroom space or modern equipment to help meet these demands. With the help of this funding the school can offer more opportunities for students in a technologically advanced facility.”

Curriculum in the Lafayette medical facility includes a variety of academic experiences in addition to traditional lectures and laboratories. Small group discussions, case-based problem learning, clinical experiences, and service learning project are used to help develop lifelong-learning skills.

Alting said at the request of students, plans for the Recreational Sports Center – including a multi-purpose recreational pool, a multi-story atrium and a wellness wing – may move forward. Plans for the wellness wing include a juice bar, a connecting hallway between the recreation pool and the existing pool as well as a demonstration kitchen.

“Renovations will not be paid for with tax dollars but through minimal increases in student fees. Increased space for students and improved programming will also bring Purdue in line with other Big 10 schools, contribute to the wellness of students and add much-needed jobs,” Alting said. “The renovation and expansion of the recreational center will create more opportunities for weight training, jogging, walking and group exercise.”

Average Big 10 recreational centers allocate 11.8 square feet per student, compared to Purdue’s 7.8. Several Big 10 schools have plans for improvement, and when completed, the average square footage will increase to 15.4 square feet per student, which is approximately 97 percent more space per student than available at Purdue.

Hershman said Purdue students received more than $19 million from State Student Assistance Commission of Indiana’s grants in the 2007 to 2008 school year. Hershman said that amount could significantly increase next year as the amount of monies available to Hoosier students are expected to increase by 15 percent.

“Lawmakers were able to hold overall spending at or below fiscal year 2009 numbers while increasing funding for Purdue in several key areas,” Hershman said.

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