Purdue Research Park dedicates new tech center, honors EE alumnus and spouse

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue Research Park officials dedicated a 105,000-square-foot technology center on Wednesday (May 27) in honor of Heddy Kurz and her late husband, Herman Kurz, a Purdue University electrical engineering alumnus.

More than 200 people gathered for the dedication of the Herman and Heddy Kurz Purdue Technology Center in the Purdue Research Park. The 105,000-square-foot facility will house the Purdue Research Foundation offices, provide space for up to 26 companies and support up to 275 jobs. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

More than 200 people gathered for the dedication of the Herman and Heddy Kurz Purdue Technology Center in the Purdue Research Park. The 105,000-square-foot facility will house the Purdue Research Foundation offices, provide space for up to 26 companies and support up to 275 jobs. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

The Herman and Heddy Kurz Purdue Technology Center, 1281 Win Hentschel Blvd., will house the Purdue Research Foundation offices, provide space for up to 26 companies and support about 275 jobs. Heddy, who lives in Louisville, made a deferred gift in the amount of $3 million in honor of Herman to help fund the $14.5 million, 13-acre Purdue Research Park expansion.

“This is the first gift of this magnitude that the Purdue Research Foundation has received to name a facility in the Purdue Research Park,” said France A. C√≥rdova, president of both Purdue and the Purdue Research Foundation. “The Herman and Heddy Kurz Purdue Technology Center represents the Purdue Research Park’s success in economic development.”

Kurz previously donated $1.9 million for the Herman and Heddy Kurz Atrium in the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering and $2 million for the Herman and Heddy Kurz Lobby in the Richard and Patricia Lawson Computer Science Building. The couple also has supported the purchase and maintenance of instruments for the Purdue band.

“Herman used to say that his professional success came from the educational foundation he received while at Purdue,” Kurz said. “I know he would be proud of the gifts bestowed on Purdue to make it an even greater university.”

Heddy Kurz speaks at Wednesday's (May 27) dedication of the Herman and Heddy Kurz Purdue Technology Center in the Purdue Research Park. Heddy Kurz gave a $3 million deferred gift for the building. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

Heddy Kurz speaks at Wednesday's (May 27) dedication of the Herman and Heddy Kurz Purdue Technology Center in the Purdue Research Park. Heddy Kurz gave a $3 million deferred gift for the building. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

Herman Kurz worked as an electrical engineer throughout his career. While a student at Purdue, he was treasurer of the Literary Society and a member of the debate team, Purdue Marching Band, Kappa Phi Sigma honorary society, YMCA, Purdue Athletic Association and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Heddy Kurz attended the University of Louisville.

As part of the transition to the new facility, foundation employees moved out of the original Purdue Technology Center. The first center, which opened in 1999 and expanded in 2005, contains more than 100,000 square feet of laboratory and office space. The building has operated at capacity since opening.

“The Herman and Heddy Kurz Purdue Technology Center and the Innovation Center dedicated last month will help us meet the expansion needs of current research park companies and make room for new companies wishing to move into the park,” said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of the Purdue Research Foundation, which manages the Purdue Research Park. “The new facility also has conference rooms and a larger lobby area that will give us the space we need to host events for the more than 160 companies in the West Lafayette park.”

With the addition of the two new buildings, the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette has about 364,000 square feet of incubation space, making it the largest business incubator complex in the state. Sample Street Business Complex in South Bend is second with 188,383 square feet.

“The state has a number of incubators like the Purdue Research Park where entrepreneurs can get the support they need in the early stages of innovation,” said Mitch Roob, Indiana Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. “The state’s ongoing partnerships with the Purdue Research Park and the many companies developing the technology of tomorrow are vitally important to our economic base.”

The fund was created in 1999 by the Indiana General Assembly to stimulate the process of diversifying the state’s economy by developing and commercializing advanced technologies.

The development of the new facility also was supported through the city of West Lafayette’s $1.5 million 10-year tax abatement.

“Our partnership with the Purdue Research Foundation is important to the city of West Lafayette and to the economic health of our region,” Mayor John Dennis said. “The park has more than 3,700 employees earning an average annual wage of $54,000. Those statistics are terrific by themselves, but then you add those figures with the jobs created outside the park just because of the presence of Purdue Research Park in our city.”

According to the October 2007 Battelle study “Characteristics and Trends in North American Research Parks: 21st Century Directions,” every job in a university research park generated an average of 2.57 jobs in the economy.

“Overall, we still have a strong manufacturing base in the state but that is diminishing, and in the past decade the economic landscape of Indiana has shifted to life sciences such as medical and biomedical devices,” said Gerry Dick, president and managing editor of Grow Indiana Media Ventures LLC, who spoke at the event. “This changing economy is strongly supported by the Purdue Research Park and other statewide initiatives that encourage the development and commercialization of life science discoveries. The job creation in and around these incubators is phenomenal.”

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