Building Business Excellence

Spears School of Business Spears School of Business

Oklahoma State University broke ground for a new business building Friday afternoon on the Stillwater campus. The new home for the Spears School of Business will replace the current Business Building and stretch north to the former site of Hanner Hall.

Construction of the new building will begin in early 2015, with completion expected in 2017.

SSB Groundbreaking

Pistol Pete celebrates as the banner drops at the Spears School of Business Building Groundbreaking ceremony

At the groundbreaking event, remarks were made by Ken Eastman, dean of the Spears School; Burns Hargis, OSU president; Rand Elliott, president of Elliott + Associates Architects; OSU business school alums and friends Donald Sample, Jennifer Grigsby and Monica Eastin, and current Spears School students Brett Humphrey, Rafael Rodriguez and Kedar Pai.

“This new building is a major step in the process of transforming our campus,” Hargis says. “As a Spears School graduate myself, I look forward to seeing all that will be accomplished because of it. And this would not be possible without the many donors who recognized the need for this facility and stepped up to provide the necessary funding.”

Eastman says this landmark event is noteworthy as students, faculty and staff anticipate a new facility to replace the current Business Building, which has been the school’s home since 1966.

“We are very excited to be moving forward on the new home of the Spears School of Business,” he says. “This building project was successful because of the support of so many alums and donors, and we are deeply grateful for all of the donations we received. The building will provide a dynamic educational environment, which allows us to fully embrace the opportunities that our next 100 years will bring.”

More than half of the $63 million designated for the building came from donors, with the university and Spears School providing the rest. More than 200 individuals, corporations and foundations made this landmark project possible through their gifts. Fundraising continues with an ultimate goal of $70 million to ensure construction of all the new building's necessary spaces.

The facility will create an identity and a unified space for the Spears School, which currently has faculty and staff using four buildings across campus. It will include an inviting space to encourage students from other colleges to take at least one business course while attending OSU.

SSB Rendering

View from Edmon Low Library of new Spears School of Business Building

Interactivity will be the key theme for the Spears School, and thus the building. The architects are designing spaces that support interaction among students, among faculty, and among students and faculty. These spaces include formal common areas such as the living room and the ConocoPhillips Student Lounge, as well as informal spaces with comfortable, movable furniture where students and faculty can have impromptu conversations and meetings.

Interaction between students and alumni is another distinctive focus of the building, which will include space for alumni to spend entire days meeting with students in small groups or individually while still having workspace to stay connected to their offices.

The classrooms will be designed for flexibility and interactivity. The movable furniture will facilitate any number of configurations and incorporate small group exercises into class time. This reflects the curriculum's hands-on, experiential-learning approach designed to prepare graduates for success in the modern workplace, which often requires working collaboratively in small groups.

The design of the building continues the Georgian tradition of the OSU campus and uses the vocabulary of classical architecture: symmetry, balance, proportion and a human scale. Elements will include familiar campus features such as dormers and gables.

The building will be the eastern bookend of the main quad and include outdoor space for football game days and other special events.

SSB Rendering

Ariel view of the new Spears School of Business Building

Hester Street will be updated to become as pedestrian friendly as Monroe Street between University and Hall of Fame. Legacy Walk will end in front of the building.

Elliott + Associates Architects of Oklahoma City, which designed the Postal Plaza project in downtown Stillwater for OSU, is the architect for the new building, and Manhattan Construction was selected by the Board of Regents as the construction firm.

The groundbreaking can be viewed in its entirety at OState.TV.