Business school plans $35 millon on expansion

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This artistic rendering depicts plans for the A.B. Freeman School of Business expansions. The expansions will cost approximately $35 million. 

Robert Marchini, Staff Reporter

Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business, faced with an expanding student population and need for more facilities, is beginning a $35 million renovate the Goldring/Woldenberg buildings.

The renovations will take the form of a new business school complex and modernization of the existing buildings. The most obvious change will be a new glass-front pavilion facing McAlister Drive that links the existing buildings into a single unified complex.

This new building will be about 45,000 square feet and is designed with an open floor plan to facilitate students working together, as well as to provide a space for all users of the business school to meet.

Dean Ira Solomon said space for collaboration is desperately needed.

“If you go into the business school now at night, you’ll see students working on the floor in the hallways,” Solomon said.

The expansion will also modify the existing buildings to change how traffic flows through them. Solomon said a key initiative of the project is called the “student gateway” that will face the Monroe Hall quad.

Instead of residents of Monroe having to go around the business school buildings to get to McAlister, they will now be able to go through them. Solomon said that he hopes all students will stay in this area and use this as a work space. Facilities like a coffee shop are being included.

Solomon said the project is designed to meet the changing needs of business students and faculty.

Many of the classrooms in Goldring/Woldenberg Hall I are considered outdated for current business education and will be reconfigured to better suit faculty’s needs. Furthermore, because of the expanding student population, the expansion includes new classroom space and faculty offices to serve more students.

The project is expected to cost about $35 million, although Solomon said the final price may change as the project is currently out for construction bids.

Tulane’s Executive Director of Public Relations Michael Strecker said the university is receiving the vast majority of funding for this project through major gifts. About $25 million in large-dollar donations have been raised already over a three-year period.

Construction of the buildings will pose a challenge for both the builders and those that use the business school buildings and surrounding areas. Josh Beezley, project manager with Tulane’s Capital Projects, said that Tulane will deploy modular buildings and other equipment to the Monroe quad, which will serve as a staging area for construction.

The modular buildings will be used as temporary workspace for staff while construction takes place. Solomon added that Tulane is building temporary classrooms for the business school in the basement of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.

Tulane is trying to minimize the impact and difficulties of construction. The buildings will remain accessible during renovations, and the architectural and engineering team has worked to minimize the impact on the buildings. Tulane will drive about 400 piles to support the new structure.

“The buildings aren’t even at the same elevation, but the engineers did a fantastic job addressing that,” Solomon said.