An inside look at the Peter T. Paul building
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Since the first piece of metal struck dirt at the construction site for the Paul Business and Economics School in September of 2011, construction workers have been busily working to complete the 115,000-square-foot building.
The building is slated to open shortly before students will flood its halls for spring semester classes.
University officials offered a first glimpse into the brick walls of the $50 million project on Tuesday afternoon in order to show the progress the project has made in a single year.
Inside, a great hall, café and breakout rooms are being brought to life and will help to build strong human-to-human relationships outside the classrooms.
“Right now there is nothing for students to stay in McConnell for, so they are going to class and immediately leaving the building,” Daniel Innis, the dean of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, said. “Learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom.”
Innis emphasized that the building was built around the idea of a strong sense of community that is critical in the learning process.
According to Elena Whittaker, director of communications, the new building was critical for the department as an influx of students have flocked to the highly lauded program.
“McConnell was originally designed for 1,000 students. The program currently has 2,100 students enrolled,” Whittaker said.
And while there was once community space in the old building, the expanding program has filled many of the meeting rooms.
Whittaker lightly joked that every closet in McConnell is now an office, but noted there was some truth to the saying.
Even as other business programs around the country have lagged, UNH has remained strong.
Innis noted that UNH is the only school in the state accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate School of Business (AACSB) and therefore gains nationwide recognition and attracts potential students.
“This year’s freshmen class is the largest in history,” Innis said. “Certainly within the last four years we have added 500 more students to the program.”
The business and economics home on Garrison Avenue will relieve the pressure of a growing program. The new building will be able to hold 2,400 to 2,500 students.
The new building is also being built to accommodate the rapidly changing technological world.
John LaBonte, director of finance and planning for the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, noted that $3.1 million of the $50 million budget was invested in technology.
“I think this shows the commitment we have made to technology,” LaBonte said.
The building is being designed around the latest technologies including SMART boards, course capture, VoIP telephone and nearly 75 wireless access points.
“This building was designed with the students in mind, education in mind and New Hampshire business in mind,” Innis said.