New Marquette School of Business building puts focus on collaborative spaces

Marquette University program manager Kathy Kugi-Tom stood in the first-floor atrium of the new business school on Wednesday. The $60 million, 100,000-square-foot building is scheduled to open to students and staff later this year. (Carra Spoto/The Business Times)

Participating business students Marquette University Soon there will be a building that matches the collaborative nature of its chosen field.

Contractors were still busy on Wednesday completing a series of punch-list items — chandeliers and decorative tiles — but an early look provided a clear picture of the collaborative spaces envisaged by the new building, which includes an open atrium, classrooms, labs and study spaces, commercial community event spaces, a café with a large outdoor terrace and staff offices.

Sunlight pours from windows on the building’s ground floor into the Wintrust Gallery, which will serve as a learning space and companion entertainment center. The atrium-like area surrounds an as-yet-unnamed event space that will double as classroom space once the building opens to students in December.

The new structure will serve hundreds of students in the University’s School of Business, as well as members of the Milwaukee business community involved in the school’s functions and programs.

Last year, the business school had 1,452 undergraduates, 374 graduate students, and 121 faculty members, including part-time and full-time professors.

Versatility and Collaboration

Lora Strigens, vice president of planning and facilities management at Marquette and a working architect at the university, said the primary goal of designing new buildings for campus today is to create spaces that can serve multiple functions.

“As we build new square footage for the campus, we want to make sure it’s as versatile and flexible as possible,” she said. “Really, what we want is a space like this, which traditionally might just be an event space or just a classroom, to be activated as much as possible during the day and night.”

The goal of versatility was clear on Wednesday, as university staff explained how rooms could be configured and reconfigured through the four-story structure for teaching or peer-to-peer projects.

In addition to having flexible spaces, the goal is to ensure that business school students have a “classroom experience” that is more in line with their post-first job work environment—mainly, where they work closely with colleagues on goals and projects.

In addition to the rooms themselves, there are areas – open lounges and study areas, along corridors and close to stairwells – designed for students to be flexible and collaborative spaces.

“The idea here is really just to create a community between students, faculty and staff,” Strigans said.

Donor funding

The business school program itself is fully funded by donors. More than 250 donors, including 60 giving over $100,000 and 14 giving over $1 million, contributed to the two-year fundraiser. The name of the building — Dr. EJ and Margaret O’Brien Hall — was chosen by an anonymous donor who gave the university $24 million to the project, said Tim McMahon, Marquette’s vice president of development.

Marquette designed the sunlit brick building in collaboration with Kansas City-based BNIM and Milwaukee-based Workshop Architects. Findorff has been the main contractor on the project.

The new business school is the latest of several new building projects on the university’s campus in recent years, including the new $18.5 million Physician Assistant Research Building, the $24 million Exercise and Human Performance Research Center, and the $108 million student dormitory. campus.

Once the building is ready for students, faculty and staff this December, campus planners will embark on a series of other projects, including the renovation of the outgoing business school building, Straz Hall, into a new home. The school’s School of Nursing and the new Student Success Building are expected to be completed sometime in 2024.A health and recreation centre will then be created and is expected to be completed in early 2025

“2024 will be a very active year for this campus transformation,” Strigans said.

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