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From the Desk of the Chancellor – April 30

University Place Conference Center and Hotel has been host to a number of significant events since it opened on the IUPUI campus in the late 1980s. We have been proud to have this quality facility on our campus and the high-profile events it has drawn, including hosting the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI. What you may not know is that the facility was built and owned by a private entity until it was purchased by Indiana University in 2005.

There is an increasingly competitive market for hotel and conference space in downtown Indianapolis and, unfortunately, UPCC has not shown that it can be profitable in this market. A year ago, I asked Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Dawn Rhodes to assess the future of the facility. The group she assembled looked at a number of issues related to the facility and determined that its best use would be to convert it to a student residence hall, dining hall, and classroom facility.

After some construction work, which will begin in December of this year, the facility will house 560 beds for students, IUPUI's first student dining facility with a meal plan, and 15 additional classroom spaces. The parking facility will also add 386 spaces to our campus inventory. Renovations will be fairly minor, and the facility is expected to open in summer 2013 with residential occupancy expected in fall 2013.

The converted facility will provide much needed assets to the campus that address high priority needs for our students, faculty, and staff. Several studies have shown that students who live on campus have higher retention rates and grade point averages. In addition, a dining facility will make it much more attractive for students to live on campus and will have a significant impact on student life for residential students. The campus is also at capacity with regard to classroom usage. An additional 15 classrooms will address some of the need for additional classrooms. These are all factors that align with our campus goals and mission.

I want to thank the many FLIK management staff who have worked at the facility and have made us proud that it is a part of our campus. In particular, we extend a special thank you to General Manager Tom Cappucci and the hospitality services personnel who have served the university community with excellent service and distinction.

This project will result in significant changes for the campus environment, and we anticipate there are many questions about the plans. For this reason, facility plans will be discussed at upcoming meetings, including Faculty Council and Staff Council. Open information sessions on the project will be planned for future dates. Should you have any questions, please contact Dawn Rhodes at dawnrhod@iupui.edu or 274-8700.

Comments? Write chancllr@iupui.edu.