Ten year loan the result of $12.5M in unraised money

Admin: Increased enrollment will pay off loan

By AbKessler
On April 20, 2012

Despite deep budget cuts in nearly every department at the University of New Hampshire, construction of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics facility has stayed on track.  

The original projected cost of construction was estimated at $55 million in 2009 when the project began. Today, according to Dick Cannon, vice president of finance and administration at UNH, the final bids appear to be closer to $50 million. 

Half of the cost for construction was donated by UNH alumnus Peter T. Paul, who graduated in 1967, and who catapulted the project with a $25 million contribution to the highly lauded business school. Paul then encouraged other alumni, students, parents and the local business community to donate to the project in order to invest in New Hampshire's youth. 

Since the project began, $5 million has been accumulated from smaller donations. The Whittemore School of Business and Economics has also saved $8 million, which is being put toward the academic building. This leaves a $12.5 million deficit that has been taken out as a loan and will be paid off out of UNH's operating budget over a 10 year time period. 

According to Mark Rubinstein, vice president of student and academic services at UNH, much of the money will be made back from increased student enrollment due to opening slots in the business program that the new facility is able to accommodate. 

The new building will allow UNH to expand the program's current student capacity from 1,700 to 2,500 students. The new facility is needed, as the program has gained recognition around the nation, and space constraints have begun to arise. Many students who are qualified for the program are not accepted due to a lack of space in McConnell Hall, the current location of the program. 

"Student demand is strong and this year's freshmen class will be the largest in our history. The new facility will allow us to provide the education that our students want and need," Daniel Innis, dean of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, said.

In addition to increased space, the new building will also be equipped with the latest technology to allow students and faculty to record lectures and download them onto their computers. Also "breakout rooms" will allow professors to give students real world problems, to split into groups, to solve posed questions and to reconvene in the common classroom with solutions. 

"Business education is vital for the future of the region's economy," Innis said in an email. "As the only AACSB (an internationally recognized, specialized accreditation for business and accounting programs) accredited undergraduate business program in New Hampshire, the Peter T. Paul College plays a key role in preparing future leaders."

The strengthening of the business school is intended to enhance the university's overall image, with increased national recognition. 

"The expanded and improved facility will better support the curriculum being delivered to both undergraduate and graduate students and should be a catalyst for enhancing the reputation of both,"Rubinstein said.  

Construction on the building began on its scheduled date in June 2011 and, according to Cannon, the building is intended to be finished and ready to house students for the spring of 2013. 

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