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Updated 5:00 PM October 25, 2005




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Design approved for new Ross School building

The Board of Regents Oct. 21 approved the schematic design of a new building to house the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
(Courtesy Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates)

The building will be tailor-made to support the Ross School's unique action-based learning curriculum and provide an environment that will nurture a cohesive community of faculty and students.

"Our new facility will help us maintain our high standing and create an optimal environment for our distinct, team-based learning that bridges theory and practice," Ross School Dean Robert J. Dolan said. "Classrooms, offices and other spaces will be arranged in a setting conducive to a great deal of collaboration inside the school. Technology designed into the building will foster interaction with firms and organizations around the world."

Dolan noted that more than 80 members of the business school community served on a community creation committee convened to share ideas about a building design that meets current and future needs of the school.

The 270,000-square-foot structure, designed by New York City architects Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, will stand six stories tall at its L-shaped center and three stories high around its perimeter along Tappan and Hill streets. Its exterior will be constructed of terra cotta walls with a sandstone base. Glass walls at the top stories of the building will provide panoramic views of campus.

The facility will give the Ross School an architectural presence befitting its position as one of the nation's top business schools, Dolan said. The main entrance, which will be located at the corner of Tappan and Monroe streets, will provide a gateway to the business school campus in the form of a glassed-in "winter quad"—a bright, airy and highly visible community space containing an informal lounge, study areas and a café.

Classrooms and study areas—all equipped with integrated presentation technology and network access—will support interactive learning, team projects and discussions. U-shaped classrooms with tiered seating, flat-floor classrooms and group-study breakout areas will be grouped together to facilitate many styles of teaching and learning, and allow for a seamless transition from formal classwork to team interaction during a single class session.

Faculty offices will be large enough to facilitate meetings with students and will be clustered into suites of several offices to encourage natural mingling among colleagues. Other components consist of an auditorium, colloquium spaces and areas for outside visitors (recruiters, alumni and special guests) and a clustered one-stop shopping location for student services (admissions, financial aid, academic services and career development).

"This new facility will change the face of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business," President Mary Sue Coleman said. "More importantly, it will transform the climate of teaching and research for our students and faculty. The vision of alumnus Stephen Ross and Dean Robert Dolan guarantees a spectacular future for business education at Michigan."

In order to make way for the new structure, Davidson Hall, Paton Accounting Center, Assembly Hall and an electrical switching station will be demolished. Demolition is expected to begin in spring 2006, with construction slated for fall 2006. The opening of the new building is scheduled for fall 2008.

It is estimated that the building will cost $145 million. A lead gift for the building was secured in September 2004 when real estate developer and alumnus Ross donated $100 million to the school. Seventy-five million dollars of the gift will be directed for costs associated with construction and $25 million will go into the business school's endowment. The remaining $70 million for the project will come from additional fundraising, business school funds and other private sources.

Upon announcing the Ross gift—the largest gift ever to a U.S. business school and the largest donation to U-M in its 188-year history—the school was renamed in his honor. A 1962 graduate of the Michigan business school, Ross is founder, chairman and CEO of The Related Companies, a fully integrated real estate firm headquartered in New York City.

Ross also co-chairs the University's $2.5-billion The Michigan Difference campaign and currently serves on Coleman's Advisory Group and the Director's Cabinet in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. He recently provided the $5 million lead gift for the new Stephen M. Ross Academic Center located on the athletic campus (see story on page 3) and previously gave $1 million to the business school for an endowed professorship; $50,000 to LSA for the Henry Pearce Endowed Scholarship; and scholarship support for student-athletes.

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates has designed a variety of award-winning buildings around the world, including facilities for colleges (Wharton, Stanford, Oxford), corporate headquarters (Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Gannett), government offices (The World Bank), retail buildings (Bloomingdale's), museums, airports, hotels and hospitals.

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