Sweetwater, Purdue Partner on Music Tech

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FORT WAYNE -

Officials from IPFW and Sweetwater announced Wednesday a partnership that will bring the majority of the music technology program at the soon-to-be Purdue University Fort Wayne to the Sweetwater campus. The company says it will transform an 8,000-square-foot facility into a learning center that will support proposed new majors including music industry and popular music. 

The facility will open in August ahead of the fall semester. Sweetwater, will initially invest $1.6 million for the building's transformation, an amount that will be reimbursed by the university through a six-year lease. Students and faculty at the facility will also have access to some of the benefits available on the campus, including recording studios and amenities available to employees, such as dining facilities, a health club, and more.

The university says the facility will include a world-class recording studio with an adjacent teaching lab, three isolation booths, four editing suites, a student musical collaboration center, equipment library, classrooms, conference rooms and administrative offices. Sweetwater President Chuck Surack says the partnership will also allow for collaboration between students and the company's music professionals, as well as internships.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, IPFW Chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer said the partnership with Sweetwater is a "win-win" situation. 

"There isn't a better partner out there, certainly within our region or within hundreds of miles, any better than Sweetwater Sound would be because they are the experts in sound technology and their business has pretty much proved that," said Elsenbaumer. "Partnering with them provides the university with a level of expertise, a level of state-of-the-art equipment and technology that would be very difficult to duplicate by ourselves on our own campus. Having that relationship brings a tremendous dimension to our university, to our faculty and to our students."

Surack says he feels he has a personal and moral responsibility to give back to the community. 

"We have been so successful in this community (and) our community has supported us," said Surack. "I started the company 39 years ago in my VW Bus. Today, I have 1,300 employees and I want to help. I want to give back and help others. There is a side benefit that as these students graduate, we'll get a chance to know them through the four years that they're here and we'll probably hire some of them."

The university says a significant portion of the $2 million provided by the state and the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation to launch Purdue Fort Wayne's School of Music will be used for gear and infrastructure at the Sweetwater location, though a specific amount has not yet been determined.

IPFW Chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer said the partnership with Sweetwater is a "win-win" situation.
Sweetwater President Chuck Surack says he feels he has a personal and moral responsibility to give back to the community.
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