Business school ahead of schedule

Construction of GW’s new business school is running three weeks ahead of schedule one year after work began.

Louis Katz, GW executive vice president and treasurer, said the $56 million dollar project has “been running very smoothly.”

The outer structure of the business building has been completely erected and the focus of construction is now moving toward the interior. Katz said he “doesn’t see any problems as of this date.” The new school is on target to be completed by November 2005; classes are expected to be held there beginning in the spring 2006 semester.

The rapid progress of construction on the building, named the Ric and Dawn Duques Hall, can partly be attributed to the absence of hang-ups that have plagued previous projects. During the construction of the Elliott School of International Affairs building, for instance, there were delays in acquiring wood paneling needed for the exterior.

“It’s running ahead of schedule, but it’s not because we’re accelerating it,” Katz said.

Construction of the business facility was put off by nearly a year as GW failed to comply with a city order mandating that it house 70 percent of its students on campus or outside Foggy Bottom by August 2002. But a district court ruling eventually gave GW until 2006 to adhere to the order, which prevented the construction of non-residential facilities until housing requirements were met.

Funger Hall, which is undergoing construction as well, is attached to Duques Hall from the third to sixth floors. Many classes that would have been held in Funger were relocated to either Mount Vernon or 2020 K St. this year.

When construction on Funger is completed in 2005, class space may still be tight because many of its former classrooms will be utilized as office space instead.

The business building will feature an Aramark-operated dining room, a capital markets trading room, career center, executive conference center and high-tech computer labs and classrooms. Business school officials said they hope the amenities will help build the prestige of a school that is ranked in The Wall Street Journal’s Top 50.

“The new business school facilities will be a springboard for expanding the school’s reputation globally,” said Robert Moll, director of communications for the School of Business. He also said students will benefit from the new facilities and that “their academic experiences will improve.”

Along with the new facilities, the business school has several other initiatives underway. Curriculum reviews concerning the M.B.A. and Executive M.B.A. programs are underway, and administrators are working to restructure the doctoral programs. Moll also said the schools is “exploring” study abroad options to compliment its existing student center in Paris.

He said, “(The school will be) a reliable and respected source of business education and graduates with management know-how primarily for the metropolitan-Washington community.”

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