Photo and information from PNC
Purdue North Central officially broke ground for its Student Services and Activities Complex on Oct. 16, 2014, with a celebration that brought together PNC staff and students from past and present, donors, and many more.
“Today marks a new era in the life of Purdue University North Central. This is a joyous occasion that has taken lots of hard work and persistence over many years,” PNC Chancellor James Dworkin told the crowd assembled at the building site on the southeast side of the Westville campus. “Many people here today have been personally involved in conceptualizing and shaping the SSAC and have waited a long time to break ground for this important facility.”
The turning of the first shovels of dirt culminated 10 years of planning. The $33.4 million building will be paid for through $3.7 million in gifts, along with $5 million to be paid from student fees and state support of $24.7 million.
“Our good friends and donors have stepped up to expand their levels of support to make this dream come true,” said Dworkin as he thanked the more than 130 individuals who contributed to the building project.
Two $1 million donations have been received. One came from an anonymous donor, the other from Dr. and Mrs. Peter Kesling of LaPorte, who donated $1 million to secure the naming rights of the gymnasium to be named the “H.D. Kesling Gymnasium” in honor of his father. Dr. and Mrs. Kesling attended the groundbreaking.
When making the donation, Kesling explained that his father was a talented high school basketball player, but at one time, he wasn’t a particularly motivated student. His attitude changed when he realized that he needed to maintain his grades in order to remain eligible to play basketball. He developed excellent study habits. He later graduated from Loyola Dental School. He began practicing dentistry in LaPorte in 1924.
Kesling said he hopes his father’s story will inspire other students to excel in their studies and enjoy successful careers.
Representatives of the PNC men’s basketball team, women’s volleyball team and their coaches were on hand to be a part of the festivities. When complete, their teams will have state-of-the-art home courts for games and practice.
Dworkin also credited the bipartisan support of State Senators Jim Arnold, Karen Tallian and Ed Charbonneau and State Representatives Tom Dermody, Scott Pelath and Ed Soliday with moving forward legislation that provided funding for the building. Arnold and Dermody attended the groundbreaking.
Construction on the 102,239-square-foot complex will begin immediately. It will contain a walking track and two exercise rooms, gymnasium and related areas, bleacher capacity of 1,361, event capacity of 2,065, two full-size basketball courts, courts for net sports, student government and organization areas, study lounge, wellness center, game room, great hall with event capacity of 980, and catering kitchen.
Dworkin said the great hall and banquet facilities will be available to the public for rental for wedding receptions and other events. Meeting rooms will also be made available.
The general contractor is Ziolkowski Construction Inc. of South Bend. It has been estimated that during construction, local businesses, vendors, suppliers, consultants and more than 250 skilled workers will be involved in various phases of the construction and finishing work.
For the groundbreaking, Dworkin used the same pitchfork that was used in 1965 to break ground for PNC campus and the building that is now known as Schwarz Hall. Its tines are painted with the names of the four primary cities in the PNC service area – Michigan City, LaPorte, Westville and Valparaiso.
This becomes the fourth building on the PNC campus. The current campus opened in 1967 with one building.