SBPM readies to break ground

GW will be one of dozens of national universities to follow the trend of building new business schools when it breaks ground on the new School of Business and Public Management building Oct. 17.

The facility, Ric and Dawn Duques Hall, will be located in the parking lot on 22nd St. between Funger and Madison Halls.

The 167,000 square-foot complex, will make SBPM the third school to receive a new building within a five-year span if GW meets a planned 2005 completion date. The School of Media and Public Affairs moved into the 21st Street building in 2001 and the Elliott School of International Affairs is scheduled to move into a new E Street facility this winter.

Business classrooms, faculty offices and laboratories are currently located in eight different buildings on campus, including the Hall of Government, Monroe Hall and Funger Hall. SBPM Dean Susan Phillips said opening the new complex will free up space in these buildings for other schools, namely the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

Facilities will include nine tiered classrooms, eight regular flat rooms, an auditorium that can seat 115 people and a “Capital Markets Room” for market research and stock exercises. Students will have access to real time quotes and will be able to use proprietary software for financial modeling, trading and portfolio management, officials said.

There will also be three computer labs, five quiet study lounges, meeting spaces with internet kiosks and a cafe and kitchen.

The business school is also “pushing for wireless internet access, but the University has concerns about security of information,” said SBPM Director of Communications Robert Moll.

Phillips said the facility will cost between $45 and $50 million, and will solve problems with student services, space for team facilities, technology and room for academic advising and counseling.

“I see students sitting in the hallway to do team work and group projects, ” Phillips said. “It breaks my heart.”

She also said the new building will help with the SBPM’s ranking in U.S. News and World Reports. The school has maintained a steady rank within the country’s top fifty business schools for the past three years, despite lack of state of the art classrooms, Phillips said.

She said rankings should improve once the new building opens.

“We’ll be able to attract better and stronger students and faculty,” she said. “And employers will be more willing to recruit here.”

GW joins the University of Oregon, Pennsylvania and Case Western University in constructing a new business school building. Despite a recession and weak job market for M.B.A. graduates, the schools cited prestige and increased facilities competition as reasons for the increased construction, according to a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article.

The University is currently gaining final zoning and permit approval from the city. Although GW officials encountered a battle with city residents concerning zoning when building the new E Street complex, there were no problems with the SBPM.

“We have full approval in terms of zoning, but we’re going through the permit process right now,” University Senior Counsel Charles Barber said. “It is now a matter of getting a full building permit.”

Barber said amenities to the community, like public retail stores, will not be included in the business school because no outstanding zoning issues exist.

The building is named for Ric and Dawn Duques, alumni who donated $5 million to the project. The business school itself raised an additional $10 million. The University will pay for the rest of the expenses.

Construction begins Oct. 17 at 4:30 p.m., with a groundbreaking ceremony open to students, faculty, community members and alumni.

A tent will be set up in the parking lot over the site where University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg will be among speakers.

One undergraduate student and one graduate student will also be invited to speak. The students have not yet been selected. The ceremony will close with brief speeches from Ric and Dawn Duques.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.