April 12, 2002
After three years, several proposed locations and countless architectural revisions, the A. B. Freeman School of Business begins construction this month on Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II, a new building to house graduate programs and several specialized centers. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on April 19. A reception follows in the atrium of Goldring/Woldenberg Hall.
"It's been an exciting project," says Freeman School associate dean Jerry Hagebusch. "It was a far bigger challenge than we had in mind, but it's going to be a marvelous graduate center."
A "far bigger challenge" because the project began as merely an addition to the current Goldring/Woldenberg Hall. Another proposal involved renovating Monroe Hall for use by the Freeman School. When those two proposals proved unfeasible, the business school contracted Waggoner & Ball Architects in New Orleans to design a free-standing building adjacent to the current Goldring/Woldenberg Hall.
The project was delayed when preservationists objected to the university's plan to demolish the 60-year-old Cunningham Observatory, which occupied the site needed for the expansion. Work on the site began soon after the New Orleans City Council, in March 2001, approved the demolition plan. The new building was necessitated by a severe space crunch that has plagued the Freeman School in recent years.
In the last six years, Freeman School enrollment has increased 57 percent, from 832 full-time and part-time students in 1996 to 1,309 in 2001. An increasing number of programs coupled with dramatically larger undergraduate classes has forced the Freeman School to seek administrative and classroom space outside of Goldring/Woldenberg Hall. The Freeman School's Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship has been housed in Monk Simons since 1998, and business school classes routinely meet in the Diboll Complex.
"And we're looking for more space on campus," says Hagebusch. The 60,000-square-foot facility, to be built adjacent to Goldring/Woldenberg Hall on McAlister Drive, will provide a new home for graduate and executive programs, several specialized centers and institutes, faculty offices and administrative space.
The facility will feature a 130-seat lecture theater, four 65-seat case method-style MBA classrooms, breakout rooms, student government offices, a simulated trading room, and a state-of-the-art information systems and technology laboratory. The new building's anticipated occupants include the MBA program and joint degrees, the master of accounting program and joint degrees, the executive MBA program, the professional MBA program, the Office of Graduate Programs, the Burkenroad Institute, the Burkenroad Reports program, the Goldring Institute of International Business, the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, and the Stewart Center for Executive Education.
Goldring/Woldenberg Hall, the current facility, will be dedicated primarily to the school's undergraduate programs. It will continue to house most of the school's faculty and administrative offices and support services, including the dean's office, Turchin Library, the Career Development Center, the Office of Admissions, the Management Communications Center, the Management Technology Center, Media Services, the Office of Academic Programs, and the Academic Support Group. Construction is scheduled to be completed during the fall 2003 semester.
"It's going to be a very impressive-looking building, although that's not what we were after," notes Hagebusch. "We were after a building that was going to provide our program needs. That is what I am really excited about."
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