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New Purdue Master Plan Hints at Major Changes to Athletic Facilities

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Big changes are coming

Central Michigan v Purdue Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

At noon today the Purdue University made a major announcement concerning the master plan for the entire campus. It is a general outline over the next several decades to overhaul the soon-to-be 150 year old Purdue campus.

It is an ambitious plan that will renovate and reconstruct virtually the entire physical campus. It talks of how the overall goal is to combine the five rough districts into one entire inter-connected campus. This is going to take YEARS to pull off, and it is a major overhaul of virtual every area of the campus. One of the largest is the Third Street Conversion and the building of new residence halls.

This includes athletic facilities.

In the map they released there are some very interesting developments concerning athletics:

You can blow that image up, but it shows some big things concerning athletics:

Ross-Ade South End Zone - The long-discussed renovation of the south end zone appears to be part of this plan. It is listed as a “Potenital New Building”, but with the performance facility now finished it is a likely priority for the football program. We can consider it back in the design phase as the old Purdue Football Master Plan website is now defunct. This is probably going to be a nine-figure addition, and it very likely includes further upgrades to the stadium itself. By comparison, the construction of the current pavillion and expanded concourses was $70 million in 2001-02. The Mackey Arena renovation was just under $100 million.

Destruction of Lambert Fieldhouse - This is a sad one, to me, as it is our oldest athletic facility. Lambert Fieldhouse opened in 1937 and was the old home of Purdue basketball before Mackey Arena opened 30 years later. It also housed wrestling and swimming, and it is currently the home of the indoor track & field facility. This map has it being torn down for a new parking structure and other new buildings.

Demolition of Rankin Track - The Rankin Track & Field Facility is currently to the north of the Co-Rec and in this map it looks like it would be removed in favor of a new residence hall area. In fact, the way this map looks, Wiley, Owen, Tarkington, and Meredith Halls would all be torn down and rebuilt as part of a massive new residence hall area. This area already lost Lambert Field and the old softball field, but that means...

New Track & Field Facilities - I would say that track & field’s facilities are currently the worst of all the sports at Purdue. Baseball, softball, tennis, soccer, and pretty much every other sport have gotten major upgrades in the last 10-15 years, but not track. If the map is to be believed, the outdoor track facility would be out on the northwest side of campus where baseball, softball, soccer, and tennis currently sit. Strangely, it has a new building at the current location of softball’s Bittenger Stadium, which only opened in 2015.

Purdue Hockey? - This can fall completely under the wild and unfounded speculation banner, but if Purdue were to actually add sports (it currently fields the fewest varsity sports in the Big Ten) could a small facility for men’s and women’s hockey be coming? The Big Ten currently has 7 members in men’s hockey in Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame. The Big Ten hockey conference has only been around since 2014 when Penn State started its program (at the cost of about $102 million, so it is a steep price). Illinois is considering the addition of hockey, but it would come with a high price tag and there would almost certainly need to be a women’s team as well for Title IX reasons.

Under this plan it looks as if Mackey Arena, Belin Court for volleyball, and Ross-Ade Stadium would be the home of Purdue’s big four sports closer to campus as well as the main athletic offices. Everything else (except swimming and diving, which is at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center) would be concentrated out at the northwest site at McCormick Road and Cherry Lane.

Obviously we have no timetable on this, but it is still neat to see. Since the South End Zone is the biggest project in this (at least in terms of athletics) it will be interesting to see what kind of announcement we have on it soon, if any.