WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University has announced a multi-million-dollar investment into its efforts to meet the growing demand for STEM graduates. The Purdue Research Foundation has received a $40 million grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. to go towards the creation of Purdue’s Engineering and Polytechnic Gateway Complex. The building project has an estimated $140 million price tag.

The complex will include two buildings designed to be an interdisciplinary hub. The university says the 225,000 square foot complex will include laboratories, design studios and other collaborative spaces to be used by both the College of Engineering and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

“The need for world-class engineers, technologists and other STEM leaders has never been greater as the state of Indiana and the nation prepare for the jobs of tomorrow,” said N. Clay Robbins, Lilly Endowment’s chairman, president and CEO. “The intellectual and entrepreneurial energy on campus is magnetic. We are pleased to help build on this momentum by supporting Purdue’s efforts to prepare more graduates for promising careers in which they will help innovative companies thrive in Indiana and throughout the world.”

In addition to the Lilly gift of $40 million, the university expects to receive $60 million from the state. The remaining $40 million will come from private donations.

Purdue says about 22,000 students, about 65 percent of its undergraduates, are pursuing a degree in a STEM discipline. The university says that’s the third greatest number of STEM degrees in the country.

“This latest Lilly Endowment grant will enable Purdue to graduate more STEM professionals and help them build careers with Indiana businesses,” said President Mitch Daniels. “Support from Lilly Endowment has played a vital role in our success for years - and now promises greater impact as we educate the students who will frame the future of our community, state, nation and world.”

Purdue says it has turned away STEM students due to a lack of space. This complex will address that need.

“Both engineering and Polytechnic have grown dramatically. We have thousands of applicants, and we just can't bring them in because we essentially run out of states. This will allow us to grow both the number of students as well as the opportunities of those students,” said Gary Bertoline, dean of Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

Construction on the Gateway Complex is expected to begin in spring 2020 and be completed in fall 2022.