Purdue University’s Agricultural and Biological Engineering program is the best in the world, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Jay Akridge, dean of the College of Agriculture, believes it would be amazing to see what the faculty and students of that discipline could do with world-class space in a world-class facility.
It’s not Purdue saying this program is No. 1 in the world, Akridge says. It’s a ranking by an independent third party. The ABE graduate program has earned the title for the past eight years. The undergraduate program has held the title for five years. The title reflects many areas of the discipline, including instruction by faculty members, student performance and research efforts.
The building that has housed ABE for decades is early 20th century vintage and was constructed long before anyone thought about computers, precision agriculture, unmanned aerial vehicles and many more modern advances shaping agriculture today. Many of those advances are directly related to what happens in the ABE department.
Some of the space the department uses today is additional space never intended for educational purposes. As the program has grown, it has required more room than the original building could provide.
“We’re very pleased that the board of trustees has made upgrading the ABE facilities the No. 1 capital improvement request and priority for the entire university,” Akridge says. “A world-class program deserves world-class space.”
Designs for a new facility are in place, he notes. The project would involve tearing down the southern part of the existing ABE building. The remaining northern part of the building would be renovated, and totally new space would be added where the existing building was demolished.
State universities submit requests to the Indiana General Assembly during each two-year budget cycle. This is the year in which the Legislature is crafting the next two-year budget. Decisions on which projects to fund may not be made until much later in the legislative session. Stay tuned for updates on this legislative request.