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Engineering building at Purdue near finish

– A long-delayed $38 million building will open in August at Purdue University.

Initially envisioned as heavy mix of commercial business and the new home for School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the four-story, 147,000-square-foot facility will now be leased mostly to Purdue engineering programs, plus the Purdue Federal Credit Union and a few restaurants on the ground level.

Plans to expand the College of Engineering led to the shift in the building tenants, said Joe Hornett, Purdue Research Foundation chief operating officer. The foundation is developing the building with Indianapolis-based Browning Investments and is leasing space to Purdue.

As part of the expansion, the school aims to enroll 1,500 more engineering students by 2016, a 14 percent increase, and hire up to 107 additional faculty in the next five years.

The delay in Wang Hall’s completion has been the result of a mix of state and local approvals. In 2011, community members and some city officials raised concerns with Purdue Research Foundation about the project’s impact on the adjacent New Chauncey neighborhood.

Those groups found compromise, yet much time passed before the State Budget Committee approved a sublease agreement between the Purdue Research Foundation and the university.

Patrick Wang, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson Electric in Hong Kong, and his wife, Lucy, gave $5 million in 2003 toward the building project. Wang Hall is named after Patrick Wang’s father.

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