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A Bigger, Better Business School
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: May 22, 2013


A remodel and expansion of the School of Business Administration as seen (left) from Southwest Broadway and in the new lobby and event space (right).

An $8 million gift fuels plans for more space, more collaboration, and more success at the School of Business Administration.

IN TODAY'S collaborative business world, it makes sense for business students to practice working in teams, but at PSU a lack of space has made that tough. Until now.

An $8 million gift, the largest ever to the School of Business Administration, is supporting an ambitious plan to triple the size of the school by 2016.

Students Preety Novlani, Emily Schrum, Sameer Allabadi (pictured left to right), and Shauna Thomas took first place at a regional financial analyst competition.

A local MBA alumnus and his wife, who wish to remain anonymous, made the investment for students like Emily Schrum. She led a team of finance students to victory in a recent competition judged by industry professionals, despite a lack of team meeting space.

With just two months to put their financial analysis of Nike together, the students first tried meeting in a nearby restaurant, but it was too noisy and lacked laptop projection. They eventually found an empty conference room in the Business School, but it was only available on Saturdays.

“We met anywhere we could,” says Schrum, but “a team room would have made a big difference.”

The remodel and expansion of the School of Business Administration will relieve overcrowding and allow the school’s nearly 5,000 students to learn under one roof. Currently students, professors, and classrooms are scattered across campus.

Some might say it’s about time. PSU’s Business School is the largest in the Northwest, offering master’s degrees in business administration, financial analysis, international management, healthcare management, global supply chain management and real estate management. The school’s MBA program is ranked first in the world among small business schools by The Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.

The recent $8 million gift, a tie for the second largest gift in the University’s history, brings PSU much closer to the $20 million it needs to raise in private funds for the $60 million project. Private funding has now reached $13 million, and PSU is seeking authorization for $40 million in state bonds from the Oregon Legislature. The bond request is first on the Oregon University System’s priority list and has been recommended by Gov. John Kitzhaber.

The transformative project calls for renovation of the entire building and a new 42,000-square-foot building connecting to its north side. Classrooms will be redesigned to create more usable spaces that encourage student participation and group discussion. And for the first time, the Business School will have an auditorium for large presentations and lectures. In addition, the building will have space for retail on the ground floor, which has already prompted multiple inquires from businesses. The goal is to ensure that retailers add value to the new Business School community.

The state-of-the-art facility will be designed for LEED Platinum status, the independent certification awarded when a building meets 80 percent or more of criteria set for environmentally responsible construction and ongoing operations.

Groundbreaking is set for January 2015 with completion expected in fall of 2016.

And the project includes something that would have made the student finance team’s job a little easier—25 team rooms.