On Thursday May 18, a ceremony celebrated the groundbreaking for the expansion of the College of Business. A new building will go up on top of the parking lot that sits catty-corner from Rauch Business Center.
The incoming 74,000 square-foot building will house additional teaching space including the Vistex Institute for executive learning and research, the Bosland Financial Services Lab and a behavior lab. There will also be a business innovation incubator developed in conjunction with the Baker Institute to give students a space to work with entrepreneurs as they grow their enterprises.
Lehigh Trustee Jeffrey Bosland, ’88, spoke at the ceremony.
“This new building will enable Lehigh to achieve new heights with state-of-the-art technology, dynamic physical learning spaces, new interactive remote capabilities, and much, much more,” he said.
The building has been funded by donors who were thanked at the ceremony.
This month begins the demolition and site clean-up for the future building. Construction was originally planned to begin in 2020 but was halted due to COVID-19. The current plan is to begin construction in June, with the doors opening to students in August 2022.
McKay Price spoke at the ceremony as well. He holds the Collins-Goodman chair in real estate finance at Lehigh and is the director of the Goodman Center for Real Estate.
Price formed and led a task force early on in the process to examine the spatial needs of the business school and brainstorm what they wanted the expansion to look like.
“It was clear that we were bursting at the seams in Rauch,” Price said. “We were sticking faculty and staff in closets. Students were practically sitting on top of one another. We knew we needed space, but not just any space. We sought to create the best space for teaching, research and service for the foreseeable, and to the extent possible, the unforeseeable future.”
Price said the planning process was extensive and inclusive. He said that there were surveys and focus groups with students, faculty, and staff to collect their thoughts. There were also discussions with alumni, industry professionals and parents.
There were tours of other academic institutions, meetings with architects and design teams, and a formal feasibility study done to allow this project to materialize.
“Every space in this building represents the new paradigm. It is infused with technology and is full of flexible collaborative spaces,” said Georgette Chapman Phillips, the Kevin L. and Lisa A. Clayton dean of the College of Business.
The ceremony ended with the speakers as well as Pat Johnson, the vice president of finance and administration, grabbing shovels and taking a symbolic dig into what will become the site of the new business building.
“The new business building is built at the intersection between business and technology. This is something that is increasingly important as we’ve heard from our speakers, and we are prepared to lead in this area,” Provost Nathan Urban said at the event.