- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Rolls-Royce plans to develop and test jet engines at a building that will become the first development at Purdue University’s new aerospace technology park.

The Purdue Research Foundation announced plans Wednesday to build a 44,000-square-foot building that will house a research and development team from Rolls-Royce. That team will collaborate with Purdue researchers at the park which will encompass Purdue Airport, Purdue Aviation and Maurice Zucrow Laboratories.

Company executive Dennis Warner, who holds two Purdue degrees, said he’s excited that Rolls-Royce will become the first business to locate in the aerospace park because it would allow him “to pay back a little bit of what Purdue gave me.” He said Rolls-Royce doesn’t occupy any similar facilities within the U.S.

Purdue officials unveiled plans in April to create a 980-acre technology park west of the West Lafayette campus where it would partner with private companies to research and design new technology.

Company spokesman Joel Reuter said Purdue students would be able to help the team with the testing of jet engines at the new building, the cost of which hasn’t been determined. He said Rolls-Royce staff will visit the technology park on a regular basis, which should allow them to see the work performed by those students, some of whom could land jobs with the company.

“We mostly see this as an opportunity to work closely with students to fill our pipeline of talent when positions become open in our company,” Reuter told the Journal & Courier (https://on.jconline.com/1WjclLT ).

Rolls-Royce will occupy most of the building, with the remaining space available to companies wishing to follow Rolls-Royce’s lead, said Purdue Research Foundation President Dan Hasler.

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said the new research park will lie within the bounds of the “certified technology park,” a designation similar to a tax-increment finance district where tax revenues can be invested back into the community.

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