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A ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday launched the construction of the $54 million renovation and expansion of the University of Wyoming College of Business building. Construction is scheduled to be completed in fall 2010.
Gov. Dave Freudenthal, UW President Tom Buchanan, College of Business Dean Brent Hathaway, UW trustees Chuck Brown, Warren Lauer and Jim Neiman, Wyoming House Speaker Roy Cohee, College of Business Advisory Council members Don Kany, Peter Johnson and Sherrod France, Daniels Fund representative Sparky Turner, and UW donors Mick and Susie McMurry shoveled the first ceremonial dirt for the project, located on the east side of the existing building at the corner of 15th and Ivinson streets.
The College of Business renovation and eastward expansion will bring together all departments of the college, which are now in two different locations, into one site. The project includes a complete renovation to the existing 62,000 square-foot building built in 1960 and an addition of 103,000 square feet adjacent to the existing building.
The design will provide a modern facility that will include technology-rich classrooms, class laboratories, seminar rooms, faculty and graduate student offices, business student organizational offices, student success support offices, group study rooms, a dean's suite, and research space along with a board room and trading room.
The facility completion will help the college retain its accreditation with the AACSB (Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business), of which only 506 schools in the world have achieved.
Buchanan said the new facility for UW students is warranted.
"In 1960, our "C&I" (Commerce and Industry, the former college name) students were focusing on the basics of accounting, finance, economics, management and marketing as they prepared for jobs primarily in their hometowns and perhaps in the region," Buchanan said. "Our business students today are still expected to be adept in the core content areas but on a more global scale and utilizing technology that wasn't even dreamed of in 1960."
He said today's students need to leave UW well versed on the impact of the Internet on global commerce, technology's impact on trades and transactions and the role of international consumers. They must have an acute awareness of differences in culture, information systems management, new methods of modeling consumer behaviors and the profile of the average worker and new management strategies.
"This new facility will help our students achieve their goals," he added. "It has been made possible by the extraordinary generosity of the Wyoming State Legislature. From Level I planning to construction, the legislature has supported the renovation of this facility and what it means to the education of Wyoming's future business leaders. But its greatest champion has been from the very beginning our governor."
When the College of Commerce and Industry Building was dedicated in 1960, 461 students were enrolled as "C&I" majors, Hathaway said.
"The current facility does not meet the educational needs of our 1,300 business majors, plus the 1,250 non-business students enrolled in business classes," he said. "However, thanks to the outstanding support we have received from the University of Wyoming's Board of Trustees, the Wyoming State Building Commission, Gov. Dave Freudenthal and the Wyoming State Legislature, help is on the way."
The new College of Business, Hathaway said, will have features ranging from a networked trading room for tracking investments to videoconferencing capacity throughout the building. Classroom spaces, including group study rooms, a multimedia laboratory and a behavioral lab will accommodate a variety of teaching and learning methods.