Story by Tim Obermiller | Drone photography by Ben Yonker

When Ball State was founded in 1918, the campus had just one main structure (now the Bracken Administration Building) on 64 acres donated by the Ball brothers.

Today, that number has grown to 109 buildings on 780 acres, with further progress underway as the University brings new improvements to its physical campus in ways that foster collaboration, research, curricular innovation, and community.

James Lowe, associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Management, and his team direct architectural, engineering, construction, and operations for Ball State. However, he explained, “our faculty, staff, and students assist with the functional design of our buildings and we rely on their input for guidance.”

“They are the ones that know how best to teach and to learn, today and tomorrow,” he said. “We listen, we program, and we repeat what we heard back to the make sure we have it correct. The exterior and interior design then evolves; form then follows function.”

The University’s physical campus will continue to evolve, said Lowe, based on future needs and opportunities as reflected in current and future master and strategic plans that set Ball State’s destination toward a bright future.

The following pages offer updates—and some bird’s-eye views—to show how the campus continues to transform for the better in fulfilling Ball State’s mission, goals, and enduring values on behalf of its students.

Building for a Bright Future

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The photo shows what remains of LaFollette Complex, which once housed 1,900 when it was built in the 1960s to quickly meet a booming student population. The rest of the complex has been demolished and has been replaced by the new North Residential Neighborhood.

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Already completed and opening this past Fall is the North Dining Hall. The 65,000-square-foot facility is now considered the University’s premier dining location, serving everything from down-home barbecue to artisanal pastries.

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Also opening this Fall, the North Residence Hall is the home for the new STEM Living-Learning Community.

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Nearing completion is a second residence hall that is expected to open this Fall as home to the Education Living-Learning Community. Each new hall will have 500 beds.
Building for a Bright Future

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To be completed this Summer, the Foundational Sciences Building is an $87.5 million, five-story structure that will be the home of the chemistry and biology departments and is part of a renovation/partial demolition of the aging Cooper Science Complex.

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Part of the new East Quad, the 165,000-square-foot Health Professions Building opened in Fall 2019 and is designed for College of Health faculty and students to collaborate across academic disciplines. It also meets a critical statewide demand for skilled, knowledgeable, and adaptable healthcare professionals.


Multicultural Center rendering by RGCollaborative/Emile Dixon

Multicultural Center rendering by RGCollaborative/Emile Dixon


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When finished, the new 10,500-square-foot Multicultural Center will provide service closer to where students live and study, feature amenities designed to assist and support all students, and will promote Inclusive Excellence.


Brown Family Amphitheater rendering by RATIO Architects

Brown Family Amphitheater rendering by RATIO Architects


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In December, the University announced a gift from alumnus Charles W. Brown, ’71, that will fund an outdoor performance and gathering space. Named the Brown Family Amphitheater, it will be built between Park and Pruis halls and between Noyer and Woodworth complexes.

Building for a Bright Future

Cooper STEM Phase III, Renovation and Partial Demolition rendering by MSKTD/SmithGroup

Cooper STEM Phase III, Renovation and Partial Demolition rendering by MSKTD/SmithGroup

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There are many changes planned for the Cooper Science Complex, built in 1967. About 130,000 square feet will be renovated on the building’s west side to serve as home to Physics and Astronomy, Geography, Geology, and Natural Resources and Environmental Management. With Chemistry and Biology moving from the complex’s east end into the Foundational Sciences Building, that section is scheduled for demolition, freeing up the area for a possible outdoor teaching space.

Keeping With Traditions

With large grassy areas, towering trees, and majestic older buildings, the shady Quad south of the Fine Arts Building marks the original campus and will be preserved for future generations. That tradition is also being expressed in new buildings that maintain a style of architecture embracing our past. In addition, plans call for the creation of more green spaces, while the new buildings themselves are more open and transparent “to give a feeling that the inside and outside are one,” said James Lowe.

Scheumann Family Indoor Practice

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The $15 million Scheumann Family Indoor Practice Facility will open this Summer. With 84,000 square feet of space for football, softball, baseball, and soccer teams, the space also allows the Pride of Mid-America Marching Band and others to train and practice during inclement weather. The structure is named in honor of June and John Scheumann, ’71, who made the lead gift.


Scheumann Family Indoor Practice

Greenhouse expansion rendering by arcDesign

Greenhouse expansion rendering by arcDesign


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Visitors to the 3,400-square-foot Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse experience a small tropical environment in the middle of Indiana. With over 2,000 orchids, the greenhouse contains the largest university-based orchid collection in America. A planned expansion will increase the greenhouse’s size and create a dedicated community learning space, designed to create an immersive and hands-on learning environment.


Greenhouse Expansion