WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University is celebrating the opening of a facility it says will become a magnet for innovation. The $18.5 million Bechtel Innovation Design Center seeks to give students, staff and faculty a place to advance their ideas toward commercialization.

The university says the facility will be open for people to advance their conceptual designs, build prototypes, conduct product testing and execute capstone projects. Dan Hasler, chief entrepreneurial officer for the Purdue Research Foundation, says the center will be a "game-changer" for filling the critical need for innovators to design and test their products.

The center has a number of assets available to innovators, including a laser cutter, laser engraver, 3D plastic printing, paint and surface finishing and CNC tools, among others.

"We have witnessed a tremendous increase in student engagement in design and creation of products and in startup creation over the past three years," said Gary Bertoline, dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. "The Bechtel design center provides them with a place to explore new ideas and put those ideas into action."

The facility is named after Stephen Bechtel Jr., a 1946 graduate of Purdue's civil engineering program and chairman emeritus of Bechtel Group Inc. You can learn more about the center by clicking here.