University Residences Bids Farewell to Purdue Village

Group of Purdue Village staff and residents.

Purdue Village event, date unknown.

University Residences recently celebrated the retirement of Purdue Village after 64 years of service to Purdue students and families.

Originally known as Married Student Housing, the first buildings were constructed in 1958 to replace the temporary, barracks-style accommodations built to handle the large influx of students attending the university after World War II. Additional apartments were added in the 1960s. The Purdue Village Community Center and Patty Jischke Early Care and Education Center were later added in 2007.

More importantly, Purdue Village was a community. Affectionately known as “P-ville,” the apartments served as a home for families from around the world to learn and collaborate as they prepared for their professional careers. The Purdue Village Preschool served Purdue families for more than 60 years and the community center hosted supplemental English classes, Counseling and Psychological Services and a food pantry. A community garden, women’s group, playground, events and welcoming staff helped create a home for generations of students and their families. 

Purdue Village residents enjoy painting outdoors during summer 2021.

Purdue Village residents enjoy painting outdoors during summer 2021.

Purdue Village residents enjoyed the usual camaraderie found in residence hall communities, including events, gatherings and celebrations. Programming helped welcome new residents and forge relationships among members of the community. The video below highlights a welcome event for Purdue Village residents during Boiler Gold Rush 2019.

Combining these activities with the young families that called Purdue Village home helped create an atmosphere unlike any other on campus. The community garden, clothes (and often dried vegetables and spices) hanging from clotheslines, and children playing outdoors, riding bicycles or taking their first steps were part of daily life at P-ville. This unique culture created its own set of opportunities, as well as challenges for University Residences staff.

“Residence life and the work and life of Purdue Village was about whatever it took,” says Christa Pazera, who began her Purdue career as an assistant manager in Purdue Village and now serves as the director of Residential Life. “It might mean responding to a clogged toilet and teaching adults how to use a plunger or educating them on the dangers of aluminum tinfoil-clad kitchen areas to keep cleaning of grease during move out at a minimum. It might also mean serving food at the international Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the Purdue Village Preschool, handing popsicles or stickers out at one of the playgrounds to get to know the children and families in the community or helping with the plotting of and sign up for the Purdue Village gardens.” 

Families were an important part of the fabric of Purdue Village for generations. Many Boilermakers celebrated their first years of marriage or the arrival of a first child while living at P-ville and completing their studies.

The Purdue Village preschool supported the children of these families and hosted half-day classes four days a week. The school hosted a traditional American Thanksgiving every fall and two “international weeks” each April, which brought in the parents of students to talk about their home countries and learn more about each other.

Kris Stith, who served as the preschool program coordinator and worked at the school for nearly 40 years, estimates she taught close to 1,000 children during her time at the school, including the children of parents she once taught as preschoolers.

“It’s been such an interesting job,” Stith said during a 2017 interview. “The kids are great, and I love working with kids, but you throw in the fact that we get to meet and get to know families from all around the world – it’s never the same twice. Adding that component, the international nature of the community, has made this so interesting, fun and educational. I’ve learned a lot.”

Behind every service provided in the community were a diverse staff dedicated to P-ville residents. Housekeeping, administrative, Residential Life, dining, grounds crew, carpenter, electrical and other specialty crews contributed to take care of facilities and provide comprehensive programming for residents, from fixing appliances to running events. Student staff such as Jared Brunson, who served as a student office coordinator in Purdue Village during 2021, provided invaluable services as well.

Brittany Madden, student office coordinator and staff supervisor, and Jared Brunson, student office coordinator, during fall 2021.

Brittany Madden, student office coordinator and staff supervisor, and Jared Brunson, student office coordinator, during fall 2021.

“We always say ‘P-ville is P-ville’ because it’s slightly different than everything else in University Residences, but that’s created a bond among everyone who works here,” Brunson said of his experiences in 2021. “We call ourselves family and that’s something that I really enjoy because we’ll always stick up for one another and help each other out. It has a real friendly and family-like atmosphere.”

Serving on the Purdue Village staff helped launch the careers of numerous housing and student affairs professionals – some of whom, like Pazera, continue to serve Purdue and University Residences today. During the early weeks of her job, Pazera’s supervisor asked her to join various work crews to learn how every aspect of the community functioned, which she says proved invaluable. These experiences and the laughs shared among colleagues helped form the foundation for her Residential Life career.

“When people ask me if I had to do it all over again with all of the opportunities and challenges, I tell them I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Pazera says. “It’s one of the life and work experiences where I was hopefully able to contribute to others as they contributed to my development as a housing and student affairs professional. It’s definitely where I learned to grow where I’m planted (as Carolyn Mack taught me) and it’s definitely a place and community that will always have a space in my heart.”

During 2019, the university announced its decision to redevelop Purdue Village as part of the Giant Leaps Campus Master Plan – but “P-ville” had one final, important role to play for the university. On March 16, 2020, Purdue administrators informed the campus that the University would transition to fully remote status for the remainder of the spring semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This development set in motion a plan that ultimately resulted in a safe return to campus for the 2020-21 academic year, due in part to Purdue Village and its dedicated staff.

Purdue Village served as quarantine and isolation housing for more than 2,400 students during the 2020-21 school year, with a network of support created for students during isolation. New policies and procedures established included case manager assignment through the Protect Purdue Health Center, transportation to and from quarantine-isolation housing, daily check-ins, meal delivery and support to ensure the basic needs of affected students were being met. This was all accomplished while continuing to provide a home for married and graduate students. Purdue Village staff coordinated with campus partners and solved problems every day to ensure the university could provide a safe residential campus experience for students.

Students like Brunson helped University Residences solve these problems and communicate procedures among staff. When procedures were developed or changed, Brunson created videos to share electronically with other members of the student staff. 

“We needed to know what to do to make sure the students coming in had bedding, food, the correct key, all of that sort of stuff,” Brunson said. “So I’d create little check-ins and short videos so they could see what they had to do. I just thought I’d give all the resources I can to my staff and they could use it however they wanted.” 

Final residents of Purdue Village

The final residents of Purdue Village, who received a custom Lafayette gift basket to thank them for their residency.

A return to normal campus operations marked the end of Purdue Village's ultimate role for the university. The final residents of Purdue Village moved out during August 2022 and were presented with a custom Lafayette gift basket to thank them for their residency. One student tearfully shared that her first child was born while she and her husband lived in Purdue Village and felt that her family had truly started there – a fitting sentiment that is surely shared by many Boilermaker families.  

The Purdue Village area is being redeveloped as part of the Discovery Park District, a more than $1 billion mixed-use development of housing, high-end manufacturing, and industry and research-driven partnerships.

Writer: Matt Vader | Editors: Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic, Danielle Fawbush

Editorial Board: Barb Frazee, Tammy Loew, Renee Kashawlic | Inquiries Contact:

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