With a dig of 12 ceremonial shovels, Purdue University Northwest (PNW) officially broke ground on its $40 million Bioscience Innovation Building Thursday (Aug. 23). University officials, along with local and state representatives, celebrated the monumental moment with students, faculty and staff as the fall semester began this week. State Rep. Hal Slager (R-Schererville), who made education one of his priorities since elected to the Indiana General Assembly in 2012, was one of the guest speakers. Slager championed the project at the statehouse, marshalling support of other lawmakers that eventually led to an appropriation of $35 million in state funds, making the building a reality. The 68,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility will house Purdue Northwest’s College of Nursing and the Biological Sciences department, which is within the College of Engineering and Sciences. The melding of students and faculty from both disciplines was deliberate; designed to encourage collaborative cutting-edge research and advanced STEM educational opportunities across a broad range of areas in the growing healthcare and bioscience industries. Construction of the building on the Hammond Campus began in July and is expected to finish by spring 2020.