All that was at the corner of 270 S. Russell Street on the Purdue University campus last Friday was a large white tent. But people flocked there anyway, and it wasn't just for the snacks that were served after the event. It was the groundbreaking for the Purdue Animal Sciences complex.
Locked into Lily Hall of Life Sciences – once a state-of-the-art building but now outdated, especially for modern labs and equipment – the Purdue Animal Science Department was in desperate need of a new home. It needed modern space if it was to continue being an important player in Indiana agriculture, and impact livestock agriculture across the country and around the world.
"Animal Science is important to us," Purdue College of Agriculture Dean Jay Akridge says. "It is the school with our biggest undergraduate enrollment, and contains lots of post-graduates working on projects. We have many professors working on research there too.
"What this project allows us to do is create new facilities that will be world-class and state-of-the art," he said.
The complex actually consists of two primary buildings. One will be the Hobart and Russell Creighton Hall of Animal Sciences. The other will be the Land O'Lakes Center for Experiential Learning.
When completed in 2017 the complex will also house the Purina Show Pavilion as part of the Land O'Lakes Center. The Center will also be the new home for the Purdue meat sciences program, and home to the Butcher Block, the retail store that operates now in antiquated Smith Hall. It offers retail cuts of meat used in teaching labs. The meat is from animals butchered at the facility by students and instructors studying meat science, and doing research related to meat science.
Each of the two companies whose names are on the building donated $5 million each. The Indiana Legislature contributed $35 million to make the long-awaited project a reality.