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Construction on the Purdue Active Learning Center now moving inside

With the exterior of the Thomas S. and Harvey D. Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC) now complete, F.A. Wilhelm crews turn their attention to the interior of the building. Soon they will transform the new and expansive space they’ve constructed into an active learning environment that fosters both individual and collaborative learning for Purdue students.

The use of space in the WALC represents a shift from traditional classroom learning to provide more spaces where students can interact easily, moving between the classroom and libraries where they can gather for group study. The WALC will bring these two important learning environments together under one roof.

Two thirds of the space will be active learning classrooms and the other third will combine six of the university’s science and engineering libraries, bringing them in from the edges of Purdue’s grounds to the heart of campus.

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Kurt Roadruck, Wilhelm project manager, noted that one of the challenges of working in the center of a busy campus like Purdue is all the pedestrian traffic. “You have to be mindful of students and your interactions,” he said. Rustin Meister, Purdue’s project manager for the WALC, said that Wilhelm is taking all the safety precautions and has worked with Purdue to maintain student safety.

Having worked on a number of higher education projects throughout Indiana, Wilhelm knows how to manage site safety on crowded college campuses. In addition to the WALC and other projects for Purdue, Wilhelm has also successfully completed construction projects for Indiana University, University of Notre Dame, Butler University, Purdue University, DePauw University, IUPUI, Ball State University, Marian University, University of Indianapolis and Wabash College.

Roadruck said that one of the most interesting aspects about working on higher education projects is that the client commonly has people on staff with more technical knowledge about different aspects of construction. “Especially at Purdue,” he said, “you have a lot of people with engineering expertise,” adding that this is not often the case with projects in other types of settings.

Roadruck said that with Wilhelm self-performing a large portion of the work, the company has more control over not only the safety aspect of the project, but also its schedule and quality, too. He said this translates into a high quality job for the client. He added that Wilhelm’s reputation for quality work is well known. “If you ask owners and architects who they like to work with, often you hear Wilhelm. Serving as either their construction manager, or general contractor, they know we deliver.”

Meister said the project is going well. “It’s on schedule and 70 percent complete.” Roadruck expects his crews to wrap up in March of 2017.

According to Meister, students are very interested in the new ALC and have expressed a lot of curiosity about what it will provide inside. Both students and faculty have been able to watch Wilhelm’s crews build the WALC from the ground up with slide shows showing the past year’s construction activities from both the north and south sides of the building. “It’s really going to be a show piece for Purdue, one that helps us meet our goals for how we want to educate our students.”

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