Business school construction could begin in 2020

 Tamonda GriffithsNews Writer

The School of Business continues to grow – outside of its own building, said Bob Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting & facilities operations.

“[The School of Business] needs their own facility,” said Sheeley. “They still don’t have everybody in one building. They’re still all over campus.”

Sheeley said the new business building is set to begin construction in early 2020 and could be simultaneously built alongside the construction of the School of Health Human Services.

“All of this [is] subject to the new governor coming in and what the new governor decides to do,” said Sheeley.

According to Sheeley, the university has approximately $52 million for construction projects.

“A lot depends on the program,” said Sheeley. “The program’s going to tell us what we can afford to build.”

The program – what goes into the building and what specific accommodations need to be made for individual departments – is still being discussed and finalized, said Sheeley.

The new building –set to be at least three to four stories high – will take the place of the current TE6 building, located on the corner of Farnham and Wintergreen Avenue, he said.

“That’s all a guess on our part,” said Sheeley, “until we start construction.”

Sheeley said like the new School of Health and Human Services building, scheduled for construction for spring 2019, his goal with a new school of business is a consolidation of the business program under one roof.

The current school of business was a $6.6 million endeavour and the main goal was to relocate the School of Business from Seabury Hall – a building condemned by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for insufficient air quality and lack of handicap accessibility, said the Dean of School of Business Ellen Durnin.

“When I first came here, I talked to the faculty and staff about priorities for the school and the very first priority was, ‘get us out of this building,’” said Durnin.

Durnin said faculty and staff of the business school “always knew that there was going to be the next step” and the current school of business was merely a temporary fix.

In the years to follow, Durnin said they had worked with campus architects to brainstorm what to do to improve the construction of current the school.

One idea had been to build a two-story addition onto the back of the current building.

“The architects for the master facilities said, ‘this is not going to reach your long-term future needs. It doesn’t make sense for us to build you a building that’s only going to work for five or ten years,’’’ said Durnin.

Durnin said she was told by the architects in order to meet the needs of the business school they would need at least an 80,000 square foot building.

Sheeley said a major goal of the new building is for it to be a NetZero building, a structure with no energy consumption.

The current business school does partially produce its own energy through solar panels, but it is not a NetZero building, said Sheeley. Currently, the university does not have a NetZero building on campus.

“Our goal is to produce as much energy for the building as possible so that we don’t have to buy it,” said Sheeley, “whether it be solar, geothermal energy – all those things have to be investigated.”

Both Sheeley and Durnin said a trading or stock market simulation room was one of the ideas they wanted to have in the new building.

Durnin also said she was looking to expand the business success center.

“We’ve found that the business students really seem to like doing things in the business school with a business focus,” said Durnin.

Junior and accounting major, Paulina Lamot, said it is exciting to potentially get a new business school.

Lamot said one of the things she would want to see built into the new school of business building is a study room.

“I think maybe if there was more…study rooms,” said Lamot, “where business students could get together and have tutors, for people who need assistance in different subjects… marketing and accounting and all sorts of things like that.”

Photo Credit: Palmer Piana

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