IPFW Looking Ahead To Completion Of Project That Will Serve As Campus Hub

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 23, 2011 Updated Sep 23, 2011 at 5:57 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Over the objections of Michael Wartell, Purdue University has formed a search committee to replace him as IPFW’s long-time chancellor due to a mandatory retirement clause for all executive employees who turn 65.

Wartell has overseen some big changes at the school, including a major project going on right now that symbolizes the growth and expansion that's been taking place at the Fort Wayne university for two decades.

Mid-November marks the planned dedication of a cluster of buildings that will be called the Student Services Library Complex, and it will have a big impact on campus life.

The Gates Sports Complex is getting a 100,000 square foot addition that will house an indoor track, basketball courts, and fitness area.

But a main feature of the project is linking three key buildings under one roof.

The Walb Union next door is expanding, with a new ballroom set to open that will afford the ability to host more receptions and community events.

The connection extends via a stairwell to the campus library to the south.

The sports facility upgrades will be used by the track team, but also by other teams, plus regular students and faculty members.

Walt Branson/Vice Chair Financial Affairs: " We hope to have regular track meets, high school track meets, other kind of activities in that area. Certainly one of our goals is to create an environment that gets kids out here, so they get familiar with the campus when it's time for them to make a choice for higher education."

The price tag for the project is $42-million, paid through a mix of state funds and private donations.

Chancellor Wartell is appealing his retirement order, saying he’d like two more years to finish shepherding a number of projects that are underway on the IPFW campus.

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