July 31, 2008

Wisconsin School of Business’ Grainger Hall Addition Almost Done: Enterprise MBAs

By Erica Perez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jul. 31--MADISON -- Graduate students attending the Wisconsin School of Business this fall will find the digs decidedly roomier, with more space for career specializations.

Construction of the $40.5 million addition to Grainger Hall is nearly complete, with finishing touches scheduled to happen by the time students start arriving in mid-August.

The new wing is part of what the University of Wisconsin-Madison says is the biggest building boom on campus since the 1960s.

The 131,416-square-foot, four-story addition was funded in part by a $20 million gift from the Grainger Foundation in Lake Forest, Ill. -- directed by alumni David and Juli Grainger.

In addition to that gift, the project was financed by $10.5 million in other gifts and $10 million in state borrowing.

The addition occupies the corner of Park St. and University Ave., projecting the school's crest outward in a location that once housed a bank.

Inside, the new wing has segregated areas for each of the 12 career specializations that students studying for their MBA degrees choose in addition to their general management core classes -- from applied security analysis to arts administration. Students can use the centers to hold meetings, take classes or study with others in their specialization.

Business School Dean Michael Knetter said the graduate school was "functioning" in the original Grainger Hall, which opened in 1993, but that building didn't offer the right kind of space.

"You want good space for the students that are in the specialization, and you want a place for alumni and business to come," he said.

The addition also gives more room and accommodations for the school's growing Wisconsin Enterprise MBA programs -- the evening MBA and Executive MBA for working professionals.

While enrollment in the full-time MBA program has remained stable since 2006, the Enterprise MBA programs have grown 55% over the same time period. The programs expect to enroll 294 students in 2008, compared to 190 in 2006.

A plenary room doubles as the "living room" for the wing and includes a fireplace for chats with business leaders or professors.

Knetter hopes the new, bigger cafeteria and dining room will encourage students to spend more time in the building for meals and study time -- which, he said, would mean more time collaborating in teams and networking.

The added wing also will free up more space in the main part of Grainger Hall for undergraduates.

An $85 million gift received from 13 alumni last fall will help pay for added faculty and students.

Other construction at UW-Madison includes:

--The first phase of the $144 million Interdisciplinary Research Complex in the 750 block of Highland Ave., adjacent to UW Hospital and Clinics, is slated to open in the fall. The project will include laboratories, offices, an imaging center and animal quarters.

--The retail and housing portions of the University Square redevelopment, a public-private partnership that will create a $190 million, 12-story, mixed-use building at Lake St. and University Ave., will open this fall. The university's $57 million wing is slated to open in January 2009. The campus portion will house student services including University Health Services and offices for the registrar, bursar, financial services and a student activity center.

--The renovation of Chadbourne Hall, a student residence at 420 N. Park St., was completed earlier this summer.

--A $17.5 million renovation of Sterling Hall for the departments of astronomy and physics likely will begin in the fall and be completed by April 2010.

--An $8.8 million renovation of a warehouse east of the Kohl Center will create instructional labs and studio space for the art program and should be finished in December.

--A $33.4 million expansion and renovation of the Education Building will begin in September and finish by September 2010.

--A $117 million project that will create a new biochemistry building begins in the fall. The school plans to demolish a 1956 wing of the biochemistry complex, construct an eight-story tower and renovate the original Biochemistry Building. The school will also renovate the adjacent Agricultural Journalism Building and connect it to the new tower.

--A $2.5 million, gift-funded renovation of the Washburn Observatory has begun and should be complete by May 2009. It will house the Letters and Science Honors Program.

--Groundbreaking was held this spring for the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the Morgridge Institute for Research, the public-private initiative designed to promote interdisciplinary research. The institute is set to open in late 2010.


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