Originally posted by Renee Hopkins on McCombs Today.
Last week the University of Texas System Board of Regents approved a proposal for a new, $155 million, 458,000-square-foot Graduate Business Education Center. If all goes according to plan, the new building will open in February 2017, on Whitis Avenue between MLK and 20th Streets across from the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.
The new building is the cornerstone of a facilities plan that also includes renovations to the existing College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Business buildings, both of which will be devoted to undergraduate education once the new building opens.
“In our current space, we can’t educate either graduate or undergraduate students the way we want to,” said Eric Hirst, McCombs associate dean. “Most importantly, we don’t have the ability to share fully the intellectual capital of the school. We’re constrained by lack of space from offering all sorts of specialized electives. We also need the space to be configured much differently than it is now. The new building will solve those problems.
“It’s a multi-step process. Once the graduate programs and students have moved into the new building, we can work on the existing buildings.”
MBA student needs are different from undergraduate student needs, said Hirst. The new building will be configured much like the kind of office environments where MBAs have worked, with space for teamwork and large-group meetings, as well as rooms for negotiations and client presentations.
“We’ll have great opportunities and lots of flexibility,” explained Hirst. “A classroom could start out large in the morning, then soundproof partitions can be brought in to make smaller rooms for new electives the afternoon.” The new building will also include state-of-the-art telecommunications capabilities to facilitate long-distance collaboration, perhaps even with Texas MBA students in the DFW, Houston, and Mexico City programs.
“We’ll be able to do the kind of things we need to do to run a modern, top-quality MBA program and remain competitive with other top programs for the best students,” said Hirst.
The building itself has not yet been designed—the image here shows a concept design for development purposes only that has not yet been approved by Board of Regents for construction.