By Brooks Whitehurst
With the addition of interactive layout and technology, the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation will welcome students inside its walls fostering flexibility and forward-thinking.
“What will be different are the classrooms” said Anthony Lapes, director of the Casey Computer Center. “Rather than rooms designed with a lecture modality only, you’ve got much more opportunity for faculty to design classes that take advantage of the technology. Part of what is innovative about this building is the flexibility it will afford.”
Lapes is also a chairman on the core decisions team, a group responsible for making key decisions regarding the new business facility.
Classrooms in the new building will sport furniture that offers students an adjustable classroom layout, multiple electronic wireless displays and a white board rail system.
The new classrooms will have seating that allows instructors to set up rooms however they would like. Lapes said the new display systems will allow instructors to display content from multiple sources at the same time, and be controllable from most any wireless device in the classroom. Rather than the typical stationary white boards, students will be able to take white boards all over the classroom, work out a solution or statement, and then hang white boards anywhere in the room.
The vision for all the change is a more experiential learning experience, which translates into a competitive edge for students entering the workforce, Lapes said.
Another benefit of the new facility is the addition of 36 rooms dedicated for group-work. Business students will have the ability to reserve these online.
“One of the things that the current building doesn’t offer is significant collaborative space,” Lapes said. “Despite the fact that there is a lot of group work in the business school curriculum, we don’t have a physical space that accommodates that very well.
So, consequently we’ve got students who come and take class at the business school and then have to go elsewhere to do their group work. One of the dean’s goals is to make this a place where people want to come and do that work.”
As students enter the building, they will be greeted by a video wall and an 84-inch interactive display in the atrium allowing students to view an interactive time-lapse of the construction of the new business facility.
The building will also feature a digital navigation system to help people find various rooms.
The finished building will be 275,000 square feet*, and will open July 2015.
“I’m really excited about the new things being implemented,” said Round Rock freshman Reed Mitteness, a pre- business major. “I think it will be useful to have that background knowledge in how to work together and lead a presentation, and I think it sounds like the new facility will give us that.”
The Foster Campus is estimated to cost just under $100 million.
“I think that having a first class facility combined with the quality of education that the business school has afforded students will give us a great competitive edge,” Lapes said.
*Editor’s Note: Size of the building is 275,000 sq. ft., not 750,000 sq. ft. (Corrected Sept. 10, 2014, 21:32)