New Purdue Fort Wayne music technology building is closer to reality

VPA Music Technology Building

A proposed music technology building on the Purdue University Fort Wayne campus is receiving a massive boost from $15 million allocated for the project in the new state budget.

That funding, in addition to the matching $3 million lead gifts announced in August from Chuck and Lisa Surack and the Auer Foundation, pulls the university within striking range of the estimated $22 million it will cost to build and equip this state-of-the-art center.

Gov. Eric Holcomb is expected to sign into law the budget that was approved by the state legislature early Friday morning. While inclusion of funding for the PFW project was not certain for most of the legislative session, university officials including Chancellor Ron Elsenbaumer and Chief of Staff Kimberly Grannan remained in close contact with PFW advocates and members of the Indiana General Assembly to monitor the situation.

“We are grateful to have received such strong support from our elected officials during this initial phase of the project, and from our private donors – specifically the Suracks and the Auer Foundation – who are helping make this a reality,” said Elsenbaumer. “Creation of a music technology building on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus not only addresses the academic needs of students who seek careers in this field, it also helps the region reaffirm its commitment to being a national hub in the music industry.”

Preliminary plans for the new, 26,000-square-foot music technology building call for site work to begin in 2024 with an opening date projected for fall 2027. Additional funding from private donors is still being sought.

From the moment PFW first opened the doors of its current music technology center on the Sweetwater corporate campus in 2018, interest in the university’s popular music and music industry programs has soared. In fact, PFW and its School of Music have quickly outgrown the facility. Since the inception of the new programs, they have added more than 150 students.

“Having those at the Statehouse recognize the positive impact our programs are having in the region and beyond is energizing to our students, faculty, and staff,” said John O’Connell, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue Fort Wayne. “With this new space, we will be able to again double the total number of students in our popular music, music industry, and music technology programs. This new facility will also help cement their growing national reputation and take Fort Wayne closer to its objective of being a ‘Top 10 Music City’ over the next decade.”

Furthermore, Elsenbaumer acknowledged in a message to the university community Wednesday morning the efforts of members of PFW’s community engagement board, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., and the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, whose support was also essential in securing the state funding.


About Surack Family Foundation

Chuck and his wife Lisa have a passion for partnering with organizations to help develop confident and resilient young people, advocating for those with mental illness, investing in the community they call home, and supporting local music and arts programs. It was this passion that led them to start the Surack Family Foundation so they could make a greater impact in Northeast Indiana.