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Purdue buying church; future use uncertain

– A church that has held services since 1939 will become the property of Purdue University next month, leaving the campus ministry with a one-year lease to give it time to find a new home.

Joe Hornett, chief operating officer of Purdue Research Foundation, told the Journal & Courier that the university’s real estate arm is paying $2.4 million for University Church. The deal is scheduled to close May 1.

The Presbyterian Church’s Synod of Lincoln Trails put the church on the market last year, and university officials began negotiations on the sale before Christmas, Hornett said.

It’s unclear how Purdue will use the structure.

“As far as I know, there are no definitive plans for it right now in terms of a university use,” Hornett said.

Hornett said one short-term possibility is to use the facility for “swing space,” moving people in temporarily as other offices on campus are renovated.

“I can only speak to the next 12 months at this point, with the current congregation staying there,” Hornett said. “In fact, there are weddings scheduled there through December of this year. Every one of those dates will be honored.”

University Church was founded in 1919.

The property is assessed at $1.13 million, according to Tippecanoe County property records.