State budget supports IUPUI realignment, ISU project
State lawmakers adopted a two-year budget early Friday morning that includes funding for new buildings envisioned as part of the uncoupling of IUPUI, a move that is intended to give Indiana University and Purdue University their own identities in Indianapolis.
The budget also contains $66 million of capital funding for the renovation of the Technology Annex building in the Bailey College of Engineering and Technology at Indiana State University. ISU says it is the largest capital project funded by the state in university history.
The spending plan includes $60 million for Indiana University to build a “school of science instructional and research building” and $60 million for Purdue to build an “academic and student success building,” according to language in the budget.
“As we create a world-class urban research university, these funds will enable us to build the instructional and research space needed to launch a contemporary School of Science at [IU Indianapolis],” IU President Pamela Whitten said in written remarks. “This will greatly enhance STEM growth for the university and for Indianapolis.”
The new building will be part of the four-block science and tech corridor that IU plans to create in Indianapolis to boost the number of STEM graduates.
IU didn’t provide any other details about its new building. Purdue officials didn’t immediately comment.
Indiana State says its project will result in state-of-the-art instructional and laboratory space for a technology building built in 1980.
“This much-needed facility will provide a tremendous long-term return on investment for the State of Indiana,” said ISU President Deborah Curtis. “If we don’t provide that workforce pipeline to fill high-paying STEM jobs, other states and countries will.”
State funding for the capital projects comes as Indiana grapples with a declining postsecondary attainment rate, which fell from 65% in 2015 to 53% in 2020, the lowest rate in a generation, according to the Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education.
“This is about economic growth,” said Chris Lowery, Indiana’s Commissioner for Higher Education, following passage of the budget early Friday morning. “Those funds are an investment to make sure that the talent pipeline and the research side of those institutions are well-equipped to do that work and answer the call for the economic growth that we’ve already started.”
Gov. Eric Holcomb said the IUPUI realignment remains “critically important” to his administration.
“It was something that had been discussed literally from day one,” Holcomb said.
Sen. Shelli Yoder, D-Bloomington, said she was pleased to see Republican lawmakers allocate funding to the initiative.
“I know at times the value of higher education seems to be questioned,” Yoder said. “This investment is a good thing for the state of Indiana.”