Open for business
Paul College holds first day of classes
Published: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 03:03
After nearly five years of conceptual planning and 18 months of active construction, the Peter T. Paul Business School opened its doors to UNH students.
Business students filtered in and out of the newly-constructed brick building on Monday, the day after spring break, filling the large, brightly-lit halls and classrooms that are equipped with the latest technologies for the first time ever.
John LaBonte, director of finance and planning, said that seeing students roaming the hallways, using the classrooms, and taking advantage of the breakout rooms was a great moment for him and everyone who has witnessed the building rise from paper to fruition.
He noted that 99 percent of the building is open for students, with only a large lecture room and the hospitality management classrooms left incomplete. Those rooms will not be available to utilize until the fall 2013 semester.
“We were absolutely determined to open the business school so that seniors would be able to utilize and spend time in the space,” LaBonte said. “Of course, we would have liked to open the space up to students before mid way through the semester, but eight weeks is better than none.”
In the meantime, the large lecture classes and hospitality management classes will continue to be held in their designated buildings. The unfinished wing of the Paul Center will be completed at the beginning of next semester.
McConnell, the old business building, was originally designed to accommodate 1,000 students, but as the program has gained recognition, it has expanded and student enrollment has nearly doubled.
“The old building was simply not big enough for the amount of students we are accepting into the business program,” LaBonte said.
According to LaBonte the newly constructed school will now be able to hold 2,500 students, which is enough room for the business program to continue expanding.
Meaghan Foley, a sophomore business administration major, transferred to UNH this year and commented that the new facility played a major role in her decision to enroll in the institution.
“The building is so nice. It makes me want to come to class. You know, today is the first day after spring break and everyone was kind of dreading it, but it’s exciting to come here and exciting to see the new building,” Foley said. “I already booked breakout rooms for a couple of days this week. It makes me want to come here and study.”
Foley said that the technology in each of the classrooms and breakout rooms is a huge contribution to the learning environment. She noted that even the simple technological installments were accounted for, like having enough outlets for laptops to be charged while attending class.
Eric Raiche, a senior business major, agreed that the new space is a huge improvement for the program.
“I think a lot of the students really appreciate it because we were pretty crammed in McConnell. It is really nice to have a new building,” Raiche said.
Although Raiche is excited to utilize the study area he is a little disappointed that he only has a limited amount of time to use the building.
“It kinda stinks that I am a senior and will only be able to use the building for half a semester. Everyone pays the same, but they get a great building like this,” Raiche said. “But the school definitely needed it because they are trying to expand, so it’s awesome.”
Another mechanical engineering student, Krishna Pothireddi, has been working on installing the classroom technology. He said that the building is better equipped with the newest technologies compared to other buildings on campus.
“Teachers have more options to present with. It’s not just overhead and whiteboard anymore,” he said. “I am really impressed with all of the technology that the Paul College offers.”
LaBonte said he is confident that the new building will push the already strong program ahead by staying in close competition with some of the strongest academic business schools throughout the country.