COST OF CHANGE: Transforming IPFW campus to Purdue, IU programs in Fort Wayne involves a major investment

Streets signs are being replaced on the campus of Purdue Fort Wayne with Purdue's black and gold coloring. The sign replacement process is taking place gradually, as evidenced by the IPFW sign in the background. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)
Signs on some buildings at IPFW already have been converted to Purdue Fort Wayne's black and gold colors and the remaining signs will be converted in coming weeks. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
This sign near one of the main drives through the IPFW campus hadn't been converted to Purdue Fort Wayne as of June 19. The conversion will take place gradually, a university official said. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
This screen view shows the current IPFW website, which was given a Purdue Fort Wayne look but which will be fully redesigned to function better on users' cell phones and mobile devices. (Courtesy of IPFW)
Some of the directional and other signs around the IPFW campus have been changed to Purdue Fort Wayne, but the conversion will take place gradually. For example, far in the background of this photo taken June 19 stands a similar sign that still features the IPFW logo, name and colors. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)
Kettler Hall is one of the buildings where exterior signs have been changed from IPFW to Purdue Fort Wayne's black and gold colors as the university prepares for the split Sunday into separate Purdue and .Indiana University programs at the campus. (By Kevin Kilbane of News-Sentinel.com)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second day of a three-day series of stories about the transition of IPFW to separate Purdue University and Indiana University programs, effective Sunday. Tomorrow, we look at IU Fort Wayne.

Jerry Lewis said it’s sort of like magic: You can pass by a sign on the IPFW campus and, when you go by it a few hours later, it may be changed to Purdue University Fort Wayne.

The visual transformation of IPFW to Purdue University Fort Wayne and Indiana University Fort Wayne has begun and will take place gradually into fall, said Lewis, the interim Purdue Fort Wayne vice chancellor for communications and chief marketing officer. It comes with a cost — a combined total of about $650,000 for Purdue Fort Wayne changes all over the campus, including athletics.

Beginning Sunday, IU Fort Wayne will take over all health sciences degree programs that had been offered at IPFW, including nursing, medical imaging and dental education. The rest of IPFW’s degree programs will become Purdue Fort Wayne programs.

Those academic changes take effect with this fall’s incoming freshmen, Lewis said. Current students who will be sophomores, juniors or seniors this fall will get to finish their degrees under the IPFW format.

The visual changes around the campus at 2101 Coliseum Blvd. E. include new signs, recruiting materials, marketing efforts and a redesigned website, most for Purdue Fort Wayne, Lewis said. Making those changes to Purdue Fort Wayne will cost about $350,000.

In the athletics area, changing teams’ uniforms, practice gear and other items to Purdue Fort Wayne will cost about $200,000, while changing logos and signage at athletic fields and facilities will cost an additional $100,000, News-Sentinel.com’s Reggie Hayes reported Thursday.

Some of the costs for changing logos and signage at athletics facilities would have been incurred anyway through routine maintenance and updating, Lewis said. The same goes for some of the other changes, especially in the area of student recruitment, he said.

RELATED STORY: COST OF CHANGE: Alumni voice feelings about IPFW split into separate Purdue, IU programs

RELATED STORY: COST OF CHANGE: Purdue Fort Wayne athletics invests significant time, money in branding switch


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IPFW didn’t receive any extra funding from the Indiana General Assembly or Purdue’s main campus in West Lafayette to pay for the changes, Lewis said. So the costs will be paid from institutional funds, which are funds the university generates through activities not related to tuition.

“We are not spending any tuition dollars on this,” he said.

“The institutional funds we are using for the realignment projects would have been used for routine repair and maintenance of some items, parking garage services and cleaning, replacement of computers, and other one-time costs for operations,” Lewis said. “We are simply postponing these non-critical expenditures and not eliminating them.”


While Purdue is putting a new face on IPFW, Lewis said it is building on the university’s more than 50 years of history rather than rewriting it.

Here are some of the major changes involved in transforming the IPFW campus into Purdue Fort Wayne:


The IPFW website already has been given a Purdue Fort Wayne look, but it’s just a temporary fix, Lewis said.

An internal committee has been meeting for two years to decide how to redesign the university’s website, which wasn’t designed to work well with cell phones, tablets or other mobile communications devices, he said.

The new website likely will become operational in a month or so, Lewis said. Users will find it very similar to the functionality of the website for Purdue’s main campus in West Lafayette.


Purdue Fort Wayne will invest in a variety of marketing efforts to promote its name and brand in the Fort Wayne area and elsewhere, Lewis said.

With the long process involved in the realignment to separate Purdue and IU programs, IPFW hasn’t marketed itself the past few years as actively as in the past, he said. The new marketing efforts will be extensive and will focus on recruiting undergraduate students, which is the university’s major goal right now, Lewis said.

Officials won’t know for sure on enrollment totals until the end of summer, but early numbers suggest enrollment could be up for this coming school year, he said.

The marketing includes paying about $48,000 for about 40 or more billboards in places ranging from Fort Wayne to Interstate 75 in western Ohio and locations in West Lafayette. The latter billboards will be to attract young people who live in the West Lafayette area but don’t want to live at home while attending college, Lewis said.

Purdue Fort Wayne also will launch digital ad campaigns targeting teens ages 17-19 on social media, music services such as Spotify, and other online resources that teens use, he said.

The university also plans to buy 15 full-page ads in the Journal Gazette newspaper from now through the end of the year, as well as a year of advertisements in Fort Wayne Magazine. News-Sentinel.com and The Journal Gazette are part of Fort Wayne Newspapers, which publishes Fort Wayne Magazine.

Signs on campus:

Changing all of the signs on campus represents the bulk of the labor involved in the switch from IPFW to Purdue Fort Wayne, Lewis said. The signs range from the large brick signs in front of the university on Coliseum Boulevard and Crescent Avenue to identification signs at building entrances, street signs on campus and the multitude of small signs inside campus buildings.

Sign crews currently are focusing on street signs and other signage that helps people find their way around campus, Lewis said. He expects the large brick signs to be converted to Purdue Fort Wayne during the second or third week of July.

Signs inside buildings will be changed to Purdue Fort Wayne over the next few months, he said.

“We are not being obsessive about it,” Lewis said. “We are doing it in a logical fashion.”

Some signs are being replaced while others are being repainted in Purdue Fort Wayne colors and design, he said.

IPFW signs that are being removed and replaced will be placed in a warehouse for now, Lewis said. University officials plan to feature a number of IPFW items at the Alumni Center, but it won’t be a museum, he added.


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