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New Baylor Business Building Designed For Collaboration

Ryland Barton, KWBU News
Brian Hausam, project manager with Flintco, in the atrium of the Paul L. Foster Campus construction site.

Baylor has topped out its new $100 million Business School building at the corner 4th and Bagby—signifying the halfway point in construction. The Paul L. Foster Campus for Business & Innovation will add 41 new classrooms and expand space at the school by 40 percent.

Jonathan McKay came to Baylor as an undergrad in 2009, but he stayed on for an MBA at the Hankamer School of Business, focusing on entrepreneurship.

"Big visions and big dreams of running a big company one day and just changing lives and showing people you don’t have to necessarily confine to one particular niche in life, you can do whatever you want to do as long as you work hard for it," McKay said.

He’ll still be a student when the building opens up in the Fall of 2015 and he’s excited about the collaborative atmosphere its supposed to create: 36 “team rooms” will pepper the outside of an inner atrium--places for small groups to meet and hash out ideas.

"In college, you never know who could be the next Mark Zuckerburg one day," McKay said. "So if I were to come to our group room and we were all our special focus in that particular room, and hone together figure what we do best, you never know what would come from a single room right here at the new business school."

Baylor began building the structure in March of this year and the contracting company says its about 45 percent complete. The $100 million building is the latest in what Baylor says is over $1 billion in new facilities constructed since 2001. The Foster campus will feature a 9,200 square foot conference center, 267 offices, 41 classrooms and a 350-seat auditorium.

The heart of the building is a giant atrium that will feature a stock ticker, TVs playing the news and a coffee shop. Adam Bush is the lead architect with Overland Partners he says the design of the atrium is based on the structure of a geode.

"Well if you think about a geode having more of a shell and a hollow center, the atrium is really the heart of the building and it’s a large open area that has lots of interaction," Bush said. "Not just four square walls on the inside where you inhabit around the perimeter, but you could actually interact within it and you feel like you could have a close interaction to others. So even though the space is large, it still feels comfortable for groups and for even individuals."

And that group atmosphere is what the school is hoping to accomplish with this building. Dr. Terry Maness is the dean of the business school. He says in order for his students to succeed, they need to know how to work in a team environment, negotiate, and pitch ideas in small groups.

"And then within the classroom the ability to just have open discussion where people are looking at each other instead of just the back of heads."