Purdue University Fort Wayne and Sweetwater are partnering, whereby a majority of the university’s music technology program will be located on the Sweetwater campus. Sweetwater will turn an existing 8,000 square foot facility, just south of the main building, into a learning center that will include studios, classrooms, and other teaching spaces, and it expects to open in August.
Sweetwater Founder and CEO Chuck Surack and Lisa Surack will contribute to this project in two ways. They will provide $1.6 million for the build-out of the facility. The university will reimburse the $1.6 million over a six-year period. In addition, Purdue is receiving a gift-in-kind in the amount of $1.465 million, based on the Surack’s not charging any interest or rent for the building. Additionally, the students and faculty will enjoy the many benefits of the Sweetwater campus from its recording studios to the amenities that its employees take advantage of, including the Downbeat Diner, Crescendo Cafe, health club and more.
In addition to funding from Sweetwater, the State of Indiana and the English Bonner 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. We’re extremely grateful to Chuck Surack and Lisa for working with us in what I hope will be the first of many partnerships we hope to build over the coming years, said Purdue Chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer.
This learning center will accommodate two proposed new majors. A B.S. in Music Industry will be essential in preparing graduating students to find employment in the music industry. A B.S. in Popular Music will offer concentrations in recording or songwriting.
“Sweetwater’s relationship with the Music Department at the IU and Purdue campus has been strong for decades,” said Chuck Surack. “This music technology facility takes that relationship to an entirely new level. It will not only provide a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art learning facility, but will allow for more collaboration and integration between students and the professional work of Sweetwater’s talented and dedicated music professionals, as well as access through internships to our three professional recording studios and Performance Theatre. We also look forward to having Purdue students here to explore and enjoy the many unique features of our campus.”
“Our music program is already home to world-class faculty and staff and growing it from a music department to a school of music will attract more students nationally and internationally,” said John O’Connell, dean of the college of visual and performing arts. “Creating a state-of-the-art facility on the Sweetwater campus sets our program above and beyond that of any program of this kind in the nation.”