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Purdue Plans 980-acre Aerospace Park

Joseph Paul, The Lafayette Journal & Courier

April 21, 2015

Plans for a 980-acre aerospace technology park at Purdue University were unveiled Tuesday in Indianapolis.

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Purdue Research Park’s aerospace district encompasses Purdue University’s airport and Maurice J. Zucrow labs. The new district west of campus also includes the recent acquisition of Lafayette Aviation by Purdue Research Foundation.

“Purdue is one of the few universities across the nation that has an airport attached to it and probably the only one with extensive land surrounding it that can be developed to advance aviation and aerospace commercialization and educational opportunities,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels, who also serves as chairman of the Purdue Research Foundation. “This district along with the purchase of Lafayette Aviation will provide unprecedented opportunities for Purdue, its students and the surrounding community.”

The site will be used to partner with private aerospace companies to research and design new technology. It’s already been named a certified technology park by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

“This district will be a game-changer for our students and Purdue’s outreach efforts to partnering corporations. We are looking for research collaborators to complement the commercial and industrial aerospace work that will be done in the district and who have an interest in licensing some of the outstanding aerospace-related intellectual property coming out of the university,” Dan Hasler, president of Purdue Research Foundation, said in a press release Tuesday. “Purdue researchers have patented technologies to improve engines, sensors, propulsion systems, blade designs, composite materials – it’s a deep bench of innovations to advance aerospace design and development.”

The announcement solidifies steps already taken to partner with industry leaders. A research consortium was announced in February among companies such as Boeing and Rolls-Royce to develop thermal-management systems in Purdue’s Center for Integrated Thermal Management of Aerospace Vehicles in Zucrow Labs.

Earlier this month, the Department of Aviation Technology announced a partnership with Republic Airways to launch a program matching Purdue students with Republic’s career track.

“The educational and research opportunities that this endeavor will create for all of our students, staff and faculty is incalculable,” said Leah Jamieson, dean of the College of Engineering. “It will result in even greater prospects for our graduates, will help us recruit and retain even more top faculty and students to Purdue, and will grow our contributions to the economic development of the state.”

Lafayette Aviation will be renamed Purdue Aviation.

“We see this is a wonderful way to accelerate the growth of the company and provide even greater opportunities for our employees,” said Jeff Pittard, president of Lafayette Aviation.

The aerospace district is owned by Purdue Research Foundation and will operate similar to the four technology parks in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany.

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