WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A potential eyesore on Purdue's campus brought a hot debate. The issue in front of the Board of Trustees was a $17 million thermal energy storage tank.
"People aren't even going to know what it is," said Purdue student Michelle Frantz.
What is it? It's a 5-million-gallon tank with a price tag of nearly $17 million. The tank was the focus of a Purdue Board of Trustees committee meeting Thursday.
The proposed tank will store chilled water at night when energy costs are low. During the day, the chilled water will be used to cool buildings on campus. It's all part of the Comprehensive Energy Master Plan, which states the campus doesn't have the needed capacity to produce chilled water.
"We can shove this tank up against the hill to try and hide it a little on the north side," said Vice President of Physical Facilities Robert McMains.
But will hiding it against the bottom of Slayter Hill, near the softball field, be enough? Some board members don't think so. The discussion during the Physical Facilities Committee meeting brought up the idea that the 40-foot-tall tank will be an eyesore for the community. Some students agreed.
"I think it's good to do but maybe not right here. Maybe in the acres, back there somewhere, not that it's right on campus so that everyone would see it," said Angelica Vasquez.
But some students said it may be the perfect place to put the tank.
"Over there, there's already a lot of towers and electrical buildings so I really don't think it would distract much from the overall beauty of the campus," said Sydney Pencek.
McMains said those other buildings and the utility corridor are why the location is the best for the tank.
"The northeast side of campus would have been better but that would have been on the east side of Northwestern Avenue and you're talking about getting into the neighborhoods, or a retail space like a McDonald's, and that would be a lot more of an expensive endeavor," said McMains.
One idea of burying the tank underground would make the endeavor even more expensive, adding millions to the cost. In the end, board members couldn't agree whether the project is needed. If it is, is Slayter Hill is the right location? Therefore, they tabled the proposal for now.
After the committee meeting, the trustees went straight to an executive session and were not available for any on-camera interviews with News 18.
The board also discussed building a new $13-million softball stadium on the Northwestern athletics site on McCormick Road. The board will vote on that project along with new health care rates Friday morning. Purdue employees will not only have health care options but an on-site clinic to go to as well.
As Purdue classes end for the semester, campus bar representatives and local law enforcement met to discuss what they noticed during the semester.
More than 45 kids got a special Christmas gift from the mayor of Lafayette.
Authorities make two arrests Monday night in connection with a counterfeiting case.