Rolls-Royce has announced plans to build a 40,000-square foot facility at Purdue. The company is the first tenant in the university research park’s newly-established Aerospace District.
The facility is slated to be complete next fall and will employ current employees from the company’s operation in Indianapolis, which means no new jobs will be created in West Lafayette. However, Rolls-Royce Business Executive Liaison with Purdue Dennis Warner says he hopes the facility will offer internship and learning opportunities for students and serve as a possible pipeline into the company:
"The initial concept is not to bring any jobs to West Lafayette per se, but what we’re doing is using West Lafayette as our hosting station to do this type of testing and engage students that we would then hope to hire as Rolls-Royce employees in Indianapolis," he says.
Warner continues: "What we envision is a relationship where we can work with the students out of the school of technology or of mechanical engineering and do joint testing, where we give the students the opportunities to participate in the test activities."
Even though there are no jobs coming as a result of the development, that doesn't bother West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis. He says developing the city’s western corridor is integral to the city’s State Street development project, and the company adds cachet to the city:
"When you brag about Rolls-Royce in your community, it really does add a level of sophistication," he says.
Dennis says in terms of attracting business to the area, thanks to companies such as Rolls-Royce, Greater Lafayette is on a roll.
"It used to be that those in local government used to have to aggressively pursue investment and development," he explains. "We would have to make phone calls, knock on doors. But because of the success we have had, it’s bred more success, so there’s honestly a lot of interest in Greater Lafayette and in our community."
The facility will be used to develop and test components on that fit on the outside of airplane engines, such as fuel and oil pumps and electronic controls.