By Linda Lipp,

Purdue University Fort Wayne and Sweetwater will partner on a project to transform an 8,000-square-foot building on the Sweetwater campus into a music technology learning center that will include studios, classrooms and other teaching spaces.

Chuck and Lisa Surack and Sweetwater will provide $1.6 million for the build-out of the facility, which will be reimbursed by the university in the form of structured payments over a six-year period. In addition, Purdue Fort Wayne is receiving a gift-in-kind in the amount of $1.465 million, based on the Suracks not charging any interest or rent for the building.

The partnership was announced at a news conference Jan. 10.

The bulk of what is now Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne will become Purdue Fort Wayne July 1, pending Higher Learning Commission approval. Purdue will take over most of the programs on campus, with the exception of nursing and other health-care related degrees that will be offered by IU.

The learning center will accommodate two proposed new majors. A bachelor of science degree in music industry will help prepare graduates to find employment in that business. A bachelor of science in popular music will offer concentrations in recording or songwriting.

The facility is expected to open in August, prior to the university’s fall semester and first day of classes.

In addition to funding from Sweetwater, the state of Indiana and the English Bonter Mitchell Foundation have each provided $1 million to the Purdue music program. A significant portion of these funds, not yet determined, will be used for gear and infrastructure for the Sweetwater campus project.

“This music technology facility is a major new collaboration between Purdue Fort Wayne and the local business community,” said Chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer. “Since arriving in Fort Wayne a few months ago, I have been incredibly impressed with the generosity of those in the Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana communities. Chuck and Lisa Surack are excellent examples of this generosity and we’re extremely grateful to them for working with us in what I hope will be the first of many partnerships we build over the coming years.”


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