Montana State University

Sustainability and flexibility high priority for MSU in design of new College of Business building

October 8, 2012 -- MSU News Service

This architectural rendering shows the new College of Business' main entrance looking from the southwest at the university's Alumni Plaza.    High-Res Available

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Montana State University will present the design for its new College of Business building with its emphasis on sustainability, flexible classroom and work space, and natural light during a campus meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

"This is a very open building, both literally in terms of light and in terms of fostering collaboration between students, faculty and members of the community. It is a building that is warm and welcoming to the entire state of Montana," said Ben Lloyd, principal with Comma-Q Architecture of Bozeman, who worked on the design with Hennebery Eddy Architects of Portland, Ore.

A two-story-tall glass map of Montana at the building's main entrance will greet visitors and emphasize its place in the state. The map will be illuminated at night, making it glow as a beacon to the main entry of the building.

"It will be a spectacular way for everyone to remember this building and its importance to the state," said Tim Eddy, principal with Hennebery Eddy Architects.

For more views of the interior and exterior of the building, click here. (43 MB)

Nearly the entire south side of the 45,000-square-foot building is covered in windows, letting the classrooms and meeting spaces behind them fill with natural light. Additionally, a large central skylight will brighten a student meeting space on the third floor.

"This will be unlike any other building on campus," Eddy said. "The biggest difference is that its design is rooted in the desire to make the building a place where students, faculty and professionals from the community can collaborate."

The most striking example of that collaboration space will be an open forum on the first floor with a hearth and with wall-sized windows that can slide open to incorporate the use of an adjacent plaza. The forum is designed to serve both as a gathering and study area for students, but can also be easily arranged to handle presentations, lectures, exhibitions and job fairs.

"The forum will be the most significant, flexible interior space of any academic building on campus," Eddy said. "This will be a very striking space that everyone will want to use."

There will be other collaboration spaces throughout the building of various sizes, including a lab where students from business, arts and architecture, engineering and other disciplines can collaborate with each other and members of the community on the full arc of a business idea.

"We really focused on designing the building with as many smart spaces as possible - those spaces that can have many uses and can flow into one another and be flexibly adapted to the needs of the college, campus and community," Lloyd said.

"The new building will make our faculty and student services staff much more visible and available to students," said Kregg Aytes, dean of the College of Business. "There will be no more wandering the dark halls of Reid Hall trying to find an office tucked in the corner somewhere. There will be many more opportunities for informal interactions between students and faculty with this design."

The $18 million building is being made possible by a $25 million gift from Jabs, a 1952 graduate of Montana State College, a Lodge Grass native, and president and CEO of American Furniture Warehouse based in Denver, one of the top retail furniture companies in the U.S. and one of the largest privately held businesses in Colorado. The rest of Jabs's gift will be used to support programs in the college.

"The impact of Mr. Jabs' gift continues to amaze me. Thanks to his generosity, we have had an opportunity to envision today the future of business education at MSU," said MSU President Waded Cruzado. "He really wants warm, comfortable, welcoming spaces where students, faculty, staff, alums and friends can gather and where students will learn without even knowing they are being taught."

The design of the building also aspires to achieve at least a Silver LEED certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is an internationally recognized green building certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"Having a building that is energy efficient and built to sustainable guidelines is very important to Mr. Jabs, but also to our students," Cruzado said. "This building will incorporate some impressive design and technologies to meet those aspirations."

The building design will utilize the site to help with energy efficiency and help it fit in well with other, nearby buildings. Design features will include:

  • Orienting the building to get the greatest benefit from the sun during the winter months and minimize how much the sun heats the building in the summer.

  • Utilizing geothermal heat exchangers to cool the building in the summer and help heat it in the winter.

  • Utilizing night air to cool the building before business hours during the warmer months.

  • Installing smart controls for lighting, heating, cooling, water usage and other mechanical systems to reduce the amount of energy used.
  • Extensive use of windows to allow daylight for the comfort of occupants and to reduce the amount of energy needed for interior lights.
  • Blending the building with the site by including large patio doors that open to the outside.
  • Limiting light pollution caused by the building with light fixtures that control the amount of light 'spill' in order to help maintain a dark night sky. Artificial lights will be used outside only where needed.

  • Using native plants and other low-water vegetation.
  • Providing a portion of the building's energy from solar panels or other renewable sources.

  • Constructing the building with a high portion of materials with recycled content.

  • Incorporating building materials that are from the Northern Rocky Mountain region.

The building's annual carbon footprint is expected to be roughly 34 percent less - or 123 metric tons - than an equivalent amount of space in the College of Businesses' current home, Reid Hall, said Walt Banziger, director of Facilities, Planning, Design and Construction at MSU.

"This may be the most energy efficient building on campus when done," Banziger said.

The architecture team and university staff have been meeting students, faculty, staff and community members since January to select the building site, determine the concept of the building, its look, opportunities for sustainable design and technology, meeting the goals of the campus Landscape Master Plan and ways to limit the impacts to nearby trees.

The building's location - north of Wilson Hall - supports a goal of the university's Long Range Campus Development Plan to keep academic buildings within easy walking distance of each other. The location has the added benefit of being within in one block of nearly 1,400 students living in neighboring residence halls.

"We think it's a wise use of space to have a dense, pedestrian-friendly core of academic buildings as opposed to new construction on the edge of campus," Banziger said.

After President Cruzado gives final approval for the design, the university will seek approval from the 2013 Legislature to proceed with construction. Once ground is broken next spring, the building could be open in the spring of 2015.

In addition to Comma-Q Architecture and Hennebery Eddy Architects, Dick Anderson Construction's Bozeman office is also part of the project's design and construction team.

With roughly 1,200 students, the MSU College of Business offers undergraduate programs in accounting, finance, management, and marketing, as well as minors in accounting, business administration, entrepreneurship and small business management, finance, international business, and the management of information technology. The college also offers a master's of professional accountancy degree designed to prepare students for professional careers in the field of accounting.