Proposed new CBA building gets Board of Regents approval

Artist's rendering of the new College of Business Administration that will be built on the southeast corner of 14th and Vine streets.
Artist's rendering of the new College of Business Administration that will be built on the southeast corner of 14th and Vine streets.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved plans for a new College of Business Administration building, making way for one of the most significant events in the history of the college, and the largest academic building project in recent history at UNL.

The announcement reflects the strategic vision of Dean of the College of Business Administration Donde Plowman to build a world-class college of business. Plowman said the new building is essential in achieving that goal.

“Building a state-of-the-art facility will help us attract world-class faculty and students and will help us establish a major footprint in the Big Ten, home to some of the best public business schools in the world. To achieve our enrollment goals, we need state-of-the-art facilities and more room to teach more students,” Plowman said.

“The new building will provide all of the things that our students need to graduate from CBA best prepared for the modern workforce.”

The College of Business Administration has experienced an increase in enrollment, including a 25.4 percent increase in fall 2012 in first-time freshmen, and a 4.5 percent increase for the college as a whole. Over the past six years, enrollment in CBA has grown nearly 10 percent, to 3,172. The college also plans to increase faculty from 111 (2011) to 140 in 2017 – improving the student-to-faculty ratio to 35 to 1 and improving instructional delivery.

Chancellor Harvey Perlman in fall 2011 set a goal to increase enrollment universitywide to 30,000 students by 2017. Increasing enrollment in CBA to 5,000 students is of primary importance in reaching that goal, Perlman and Plowman said.

“We are looking toward the business school to be one of the primary attractions if we are to increase enrollment,” Perlman said. “Its current building is inadequate for its current size and we expect it to grow. To be competitive it needs a new building and we have sensed considerable enthusiasm among its alumni to raise the money to make it happen.”

The proposed $84 million project is 240,000 square feet that includes space for interactive learning, collaboration, conferences, competitions and other events; program-specific state-of-the-art classrooms; “one stop” student support services; and improved and expanded technology that will support current and future business programs.

The site proposed for the new CBA building is at 14th and Vine streets, just north of Kauffman Academic Residential Center. Construction of the project will begin after commitments for all funding are in place and authorization to proceed is received from the president of the university. Source of funding will be private donations.

“Our main focus is to make sure students feel welcome and hear the message of what the College of Business Administration has to offer,” Plowman said. “Through personal phone calls by faculty, administrators and students, and other targeted efforts, we let transfers and high school students know that they belong here. This new building will provide a central area for our students to learn, study and meet others.”

Plowman said CBA is gaining a stronger presence on campus with its minor in business -- new this fall -- which is available to any non-business students. The new building will serve not just CBA students but the entire university, she said.

- Sheri Irwin-Gish, CBA