Business school to expand

April 11, 2000

Mark Miester

In 1992, the A. B. Freeman School of Business offered five programs and total enrollment hovered around 750. Today, the Freeman School offers more than 15 programs and enrollment is more than 1,300. Business is booming at Tulane, and that's creating headaches.

"Our facility is operating at capacity and in some ways over capacity," says Freeman School associate dean John Trapani. "We're having to get space outside the building to offer classes."

For the past two years, dean James McFarland and the Business School Council, the school's advisory board, have been meeting to develop a plan to accommodate a projected continued rise in Freeman School students. In December, that plan will shift into action as the Freeman School breaks ground on a new 67,000-square-foot building.

Current plans for the four-story facility, which will be located adjacent to Goldring/ Woldenberg Hall, provide for classrooms, office space for business school graduate and executive education programs, school centers and institutes, and faculty offices. Administrative offices and classrooms for the undergraduate program will remain in Goldring/Woldenberg Hall. The new building also will house the Tulane economics department.

The Cunningham Observatory currently occupies space in the area where the building will be constructed. According to Henry Fry, director of campus planning, the university is investigating the feasibility of moving the observatory to another location on campus.

"We didn't really want to have to build another building, but we didn't really have a choice," says Trapani. The new building, which is tentatively scheduled for completion in May 2002, is being designed by Waggonner and Ball Architects and will feature seven "case-method" classrooms, a sophisticated information technology center, seminar rooms, student lounges, a faculty conference room and office space.

While much of the increase in business school growth has been driven by growing undergraduate numbersundergraduate enrollment leapt from about 300 in 1995 to more than 500 this year Trapani notes that the school's expanding international executive MBA and faculty-development programs were also a major factor in the school's decision to expand.

Although they do most of their classroom time in their native countries, executive MBA students from Taiwan, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico and PhD students from Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela travel to New Orleans to attend classes at the Freeman School.

"We can't even bring [international EMBA and PhD students] into our building," Trapani explains. "We're having to use Diboll Center, which was a real stretch." The cost of the new building will be between $18 and $22 million. To date, the Freeman School has raised just under $14 million for the building.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000