Samford University students and faculty returning for the start of the spring semester found construction fencing, cranes and workers on the site of the new Brock School of Business building. Construction on the 73,270- square-foot facility began in mid-January. It is expected to be complete by the fall 2015 semester.
Samford's board of trustees gave final approval to the estimated $30 million construction project in early January. The building was designed by Davis Architects of Birmingham, and Birmingham-based Hoar Construction is the general contractor.
Plans for the new building were first announced in April 2013. At the time, Samford alumnus and Birmingham business executive Gary Cooney announced a pledge of at least $12.5 million to the project. Response to fundraising for the project has been very strong, especially among business school alumni, and there still are several naming opportunities available in the new building, according to W. Randy Pittman, Samford's vice president for advancement.
The yet-to-be-named building is on the northeast corner of the campus near the law school and a men's residence hall. The business school currently is housed in Dwight Beeson Hall, which was constructed in 1970. The space vacated by the business school eventually will be reassigned to other university departments, according to university officials.
Among the features in the new building will be an Investment Portfolio Room, two computer teaching labs, 11 classrooms, interactive break-out rooms connected to many of the classrooms, a student business incubator, and a community resource meeting room able to host up to 400 guests for receptions, meetings and lectures, allowing the university to host events that currently must be held off-campus venues.
"To stay competitive with other universities in drawing top talent from around the nation, Samford must continue striving for excellence in its offerings, said Scott McKaig, a senior business major from Fort Wayne, Ind. "A major part of this effort is the provision of state-of-the-art technology and facilities for students to engage the ever-changing world of trade."
Samford's business school, with programs dating to the 1920s, was named in honor of Samford trustee and Birmingham banking executive Harry B. Brock Jr. in 2007. Today, the school has 477 undergraduate students and 139 students enrolled in graduate programs. The school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Construction is causing some traffic and parking adjustments on campus, university officials said. A temporary parking lot has been added adjacent to Beeson University Center to help ease parking in the central campus. A temporary shuttle around the campus is in place to assist students and employees in moving from remote parking to the central campus.