Purdue planning to build new dorm to address enrollment growth and housing needs

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – After years of issues with overcrowding in dorms, Purdue University is looking to boost housing options on campus.

Purdue’s 2023 fall semester is less than two weeks away and some freshmen are already getting used to their dorms.

“We’re just closer to everything,” said Freshman AJ Kone. “We just feel like we’re more immersed and you belong here if you live in a dorm.”

While students like AJ are not required to live on campus, the desire to do so has grown in recent years.

“We typically house between 93 and 94 percent of our new students,” said Beth McCuskey, vice provost of student life at Purdue University. “And of those students eligible to return, we will easily house 45 to 50 percent of them as well.”

In previous years, Purdue has used temporary housing to help with the increase. Back in 2021, a viral video showed the temporary housing Purdue was putting students in over the summer semester. Some students compared it to barracks, but luckily that is not an issue this year.

“This year we have very limited temporary housing, in fact, we believe most students, if not all students, will begin their year in their permanent space,” McCuskey said.

And the university has a solution to keep that number down. Purdue leaders approved plans to build an eight-story, 252,525-square-foot dorm that will house nearly 900 students. The facility will be directly south of Hillenbrand Residence Hall and will be named Hillenbrand Residence Hall South.

According to the university, the existing dining area in Hillenbrand Residence Hall will be renovated and expanded from approximately 500 to 800 seats to accommodate the increased number of students.

“This particular facility will help us top the enrollment growth,” McCuskey said. “So we have grown about 31 percent in the last ten years and between this facility and another new one that will be opening a year before, we will have grown 35 percent in the residence hall space.”

McCuskey said after both facilities are complete, Purdue will be able to house about 16,000 students on campus.

Incoming students like AJ Kone said increasing living space will help more students feel better right at home.

“I’m glad they’re trying to expand the housing availability so everybody can live here,” he said.

The project is expected to begin in March and be completed in June 2026. Meanwhile, another Purdue housing facility is expected to be completed next fall.

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