University of Chicago Breaks Ground on $125 Million Business School Complex

Ground will be broken Saturday, May 18th for the new $125 million complex of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. The new facility will be the most modern business school in the world and is designed in response to the latest innovations in teaching methods and student collaboration. It will replace four buildings the school now occupies on the University's main campus.

The 415,000 square foot facility was designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and will be located at South Woodlawn Avenue and 58th Street, near the center of the University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park. Completion is scheduled for September 2004.

The new complex reflects important changes that have taken place in business education during the past 15 years many of which were developed at Chicago GSB and will help create a collaborative environment among students and faculty that enhances the way business professors now teach and students now learn.

The faculty of our Graduate School of Business is simply unsurpassed, and our students are second to none, said Don Michael Randel, University president. This new building will help those faculty and students work more closely than ever before, creating the kinds of collaborations where the best learning is done, and the best ideas are developed, he said.

The new business school complex will be 60 percent larger than the school's current facilities and include 18 classrooms for M.B.A. and Ph.D. students, 34 group study rooms and 36 interview rooms where corporate recruiters will meet with students.

The new facility will also include 167 faculty offices, a student lounge and food service area, three outdoor terraces and a winter garden atrium that is 83 feet tall containing 37,500 square feet of glass.

It is a cornerstone of the business school's $250 million capital campaign, part of the $2 billion Chicago Initiative fundraising campaign of the University of Chicago. The lead gift to the building project was $25 million from Dennis Keller, a 1968 alumnus of Chicago GSB.

With our existing campuses in Europe and Asia, and our Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, this new facility brings the vitality of discovery and collaboration together in a building that, when completed, will allow us to lay claim to having the best set of dedicated campuses of any business school in the world, said Edward A. Snyder, dean of the Graduate School of Business.

In addition to its main complex in Hyde Park, Chicago GSB has its downtown Gleacher Center at 450 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive, and campuses in Singapore and Barcelona. The school recently purchased the Barcelona campus after having leased the facility since 1994.

The new facility will contain seven floors, including two floors below ground. The site is just south of Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and east of Rockefeller Chapel, both of which are architecturally significant buildings.

Rafael Viñoly did an excellent job of designing our new complex to compliment the Prairie style architecture of Robie House and the Gothic style of Rockefeller Chapel, Snyder said.

Rafael Viñoly Architects is an internationally recognized firm with offices in New York, Tokyo and Buenos Aires. The firm recently designed the Tokyo International Forum, Philadelphia Regional Performing Arts Center and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The way business school students and faculty interact with each other has changed in the past 15 years, making the school's current buildings not suited for today's learning environment, according to Ann McGill, deputy dean of the school's full-time M.B.A. programs.

Today, students and faculty collaborate, McGill said. They eat here, they socialize here and they have meetings here, she said. The result is that we need more group meeting places, social areas, quiet study areas, and space for professional clubs to hold events.

Our new complex will facilitate spontaneous ideas and hallway chats, and that is where many of the best ideas come from, McGill said.

When the new facility is completed, the four buildings now occupied by Chicago GSB will be used by other schools and departments of the University of Chicago.

John Huizinga, deputy dean for the faculty at the Graduate School of Business, has lead responsibility for construction of the new complex, which has remained on schedule and on budget since the planning began several years ago. 

The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business is one of the oldest and largest business schools in the world. It offers full-time and part-time MBA programs, a PhD program, and open enrollment executive education.