Establishing a commercialization center

Purdue Calumet moves closer to establishing commercialization center

Drawing closer to realizing its plan for developing a commercialization center, Purdue University Calumet has purchased the former Kaplan Commons building, half a mile west of campus.

The vacant facility is located on the west side of Indianapolis Boulevard, south of 171st Street.

Building purchased, then renovation

Though Purdue Calumet previously budgeted the $1 million purchase cost of the 18,000 square feet structure, Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said the time frame for the center’s opening is contingent on the university’s ability to raise another $1 million from private donors to cover renovation and furnishing costs.

“We are indebted to Greg Kaplan for his willingness to sell this property to the university and for his foresight in understanding the valuable impact its transformation into a commercialization center will have on our region,” Keon said. “While we are excited to own a building near campus that will offer outstanding commercialization opportunities for our students, faculty and community, we understand there is plenty of work to do before this center can become a reality.”

Keon also noted that the prospect of occupying a currently vacant structure will enable Purdue Calumet to contribute to a more vibrant Indianapolis Boulevard business community.

Will serve as catalyst

As envisioned by Keon and his leadership team, the Purdue Calumet Commercialization Center will serve as a catalyst for economic development and technological transfer throughout northwest Indiana. The center will encourage collaboration among faculty experts, community members and students who desire assistance bringing their ideas to market.

“Our region is ripe for innovation, and Purdue Calumet has unique areas of expertise to make innovation happen,” Keon said. “Our faculty and students have research projects and concepts that can be transformed into salable products and services. As a university, we must address, not only the existing needs of our communities, but also provide leadership in developing industries of tomorrow—industries that will employ our graduates and enhance the economic development of northwest Indiana.”

Keon added that the Purdue Calumet Commercialization Center will be a valuable resource in product and prototype development, while also providing faculty and students space to engage in contracted work with local business and industries.

Project laboratories

Project laboratories will occupy the majority of space within the center. The labs will enable faculty, students and community clients to design, develop, test and erect prototypes. Other innovative usage opportunities also will be considered, including relocating there the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship Success to help clients develop a business plan necessary for launching ideas to market.

“Innovatively, the Purdue Calumet Commercialization Center will provide a path to economic development by leveraging the applied research aspects of our university with the industrial base of our region,” Keon said.

Developing a commercialization center is a strategy of Purdue Calumet’s pending 2013-18 strategic plan. Employer and community partnership opportunities will be available, according to Keon.