The University of Texas Board of Regents today approved the plans for Robert B. Rowling Hall, which will house the McCombs School of Business Texas MBA and Texas MSTC programs. It will double the space available for Texas Executive Education programs and, in conjunction with the ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center, increase the convention and conference activities at the university.
The 458,000-square-foot building will be on the corner of Guadalupe Street and East MLK Jr. Blvd., across from the ATandT Executive Education and Conference Center, providing a new and iconic gateway to campus. The project will also provide additional on-campus parking. Construction will begin in the fall of 2014 and is expected to be completed in early 2017.
"Teaching and learning in Rowling Hall will match the diversity and resourcefulness of today's most progressive organizations," said Thomas Gilligan, dean of the McCombs School. "Our graduates move into leadership roles within innovative workforces around the world, and our entire program, from faculty to curriculum and facilities, prepares them for that environment."
The building design enables flexible teaching approaches such as "flipped classrooms," in which students and teachers seamlessly move from lectures to team collaboration. Rowling Hall will also expand classroom availability allowing additional course offerings and provide many spaces for individual study and group preparation.
"Rowling Hall will serve as a hub for graduate students to meet with peers, faculty, recruiters and members of the business community to openly exchange ideas, network and work in teams, just as they will in the business world," said Gilligan.
Graduate students now share facilities with the 4,000 undergraduate business students at the university. Eric Hirst, associate dean for graduate programs at McCombs, explained that graduate students have unique study habits and expectations regarding the use of school facilities.
"Their education is an extension of their career, and they spend 60-plus hours a week at the school," he said. "Graduate students need team workrooms, technology tools and an environment that promotes professionalism, whether preparing for a crucial presentation or meeting a corporate recruiter."
Rowling Hall will enable executive education to keep pace with a program that has doubled in size during the past five years.
"Rowling Hall will be transformative for our program, as was the ATandT Executive Education Center when it opened in 2008," said Gaylen Paulson, associate dean and executive director of Texas Executive Education. "This flexible, cutting-edge learning environment will enable us to continue to expand and evolve our programs, impacting leading executives and organizations from around the world."
The projected cost for the project is $172 million, of which $58.25 million is being raised through corporate and individual gifts. Robert Rowling, BBA '76, and his wife Terry Hennersdorf Rowling, BBA '76, and their family gave the initial gift of $25 million toward the new building.
Rowling Hall was designed by Ennead Architects and Jacobs Engineering. DPR is the construction manager for the project.