Purdue picks new school location

Indianapolis Business Journal

INDIANAPOLIS — The long-abandoned east-side P.R. Mallory factory will get new life now that Purdue University has chosen to locate its new polytechnic high school at the facility.

Officials from the Indianapolis mayor’s office, Purdue and Indianapolis Public Schools announced Oct. 3 that the sprawling building on East Washington Street will eventually serve students who hope to get an education focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

Space for 150 students will be available for the 2017-2018 school year and a new freshman class is expected to be added each year, toward the goal of total enrollment of 600.

“It’s a transformational investment that Purdue will be making,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. The building “has been abandoned for a long time. This is a disproportionally economically disadvantaged area. We’ve been trying to invest and encourage as much investment as we can on the near-east side.”

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said the university anticipates making a “seven-digit” investment in renovation.

He said the Purdue team looked at several spaces, but he was “ultimately convinced” that putting in the work to renovate this one would be worth it.

Hogsett touted the city’s opportunity to “preserve a historic building and return it to the purpose it had along the venerable National Road, creating a new bridge between our past and (an) exciting future.”

General Electric built the main building at the site in 1921, but never moved in.

Mallory bought it from GE in 1929 as a location for its tool-forging operation and later manufactured its trademarked Duracell battery there. All that remains is CMW Inc., which bought Mallory’s electrical-contact manufacturing operation in 1978. CMW employs about 100 people in buildings on the southern part of the original campus.

The city currently owns the building Purdue will use and will be doing some environmental remediation on the land, Hogsett said. It will also work with Purdue to secure a low-interest, community-development federal loan to help finance the project.