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Purdue dedicates new ADM Agricultural Innovation Center

A new building on the Purdue campus is ready for students in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE).

The ADM Agricultural Innovation Center offers more lab and classroom space, as the department outgrows its current building. Archer Daniels Midland Company donated $1.5 million for the facility, which cost $4.2 million.

Agriculture Dean Jay Akridge says the gift from ADM for the Center shows the firm’s continued support of the college.

"They hire more Purdue students than they do from any other university in the country. They had a passion for making an investment in Purdue and as we talked about possibilities, this idea of helping create a learning space was one that was aligned with their interest in our students."

ABE Department Head Bernie Engel says the department's existing space will still be used for classrooms and offices, but it could no longer handle large equipment now needed for teaching purposes. He thinks the Innovation Center will benefit students and their hands-on projects.

"For example, we have a quarter-scale tractor competition, so students have their set-up here. They're building a tractor. We have other senior design and student capstone projects, so they'll be building anything you might imagine related to agriculture, engineering, and all kinds of topical areas. It's a great opportunity for them to build prototypes."

Engel says faculty research work also can be conducted at the Innovation Center.

Anthony Ruberti is a sophomore majoring in agricultural engineering, with an emphasis on environmental engineering. He says students will be better able to collaborate on projects in more of a real-world setting.

"This allows for there to be an easier flow from traditional schooling to industry. I think that's something that this building is a tribute to how Purdue recognizes that."

The building includes conference room space and also houses the university’s Research Machine Services unit. It’s located on Russell Street, south of Harrison Street.

U.S. News and World Report listed both ABE’s graduate and undergraduate programs as number one in specialty rankings in 2011.