Indiana church makes plans to build $44M faith-based college dorm

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Construction on a $44.2 million faith-based residence hall at Purdue University may start as early as next year.

St. Thomas Aquinas hopes to start construction on the Purdue University residence hall in West Lafayette by June 2018, the Journal and Courier reported. The six-floor residence would have room for 330 students and be built on a parking lot adjacent to the Catholic church.

Indianapolis-based developer Browning Investments is working on the project with St. Thomas Aquinas.

Browning is no stranger to the Purdue campus. It announced a year ago that it was working with Purdue on a $1.2 billion project to develop roughly 450 acres at the west end of the campus in West Lafayette. The Purdue Innovation District project is expected to include up to 7 million square feet of building space.

The goal of the new residence hall is to create a space that encourages students to engage with each other and form a community, said Rev. Patrick Baikauskas, the church's director of campus ministry.

"We don't need to be landlords. We want to be a force for good in the lives of young people that are going to be living in this residence hall," he said.

The university has about 13,000 Catholic students and about a quarter are active in the church's ministries, he said.

The residence hall will also have a code of conduct with guidelines to living a good, moral life, Baikauskas said. The code, which will include rules about having guests in rooms and alcohol restrictions, hasn't been drafted yet, he said.

Plans for the project include in-house dining services, an outdoor green roof deck, a courtyard and outdoor plaza, a chapel and a subterranean parking level.

The church still has to raise the funds for the project. The money will come from private funding and the church won't seek financial assistance from the city or state, Baikauskas said.

If approved by the city of West Lafayette, the dorm would be expected to open in summer 2020.

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