WKU unveils plans for new building to house Gordon Ford College of Business
- WKU News
- Friday, April 14th, 2023
Western Kentucky University unveiled plans today for a new state-of-the-art building to house the Gordon Ford College of Business.
The 113,000-square-foot building will transform undergraduate and graduate business education in the region and fulfill an important component of WKU’s 2021-2031 Campus Master Plan.
“As we continue our important work of transforming lives and elevating our communities through education, we remain committed to ensuring our facilities promote the exchange of ideas, foster innovation and provide resources that enable our students to excel in their chosen disciplines,” President Timothy C. Caboni said.
The renderings were revealed this morning during the Board of Regents committee meetings. The Collegiate Georgian-style facility will be built on the site formerly occupied by Tate Page Hall. “This innovative building celebrates the nearly 150-year history of business education in our region, while also marking an exciting new chapter for our beloved university,” President Caboni said.
WKU’s association with business instruction in the region dates back to 1874 with the establishment of the Bowling Green Business University (BU). In 1963, WKU integrated the business programs of BU into its College of Business, later named to honor the generosity of former BU student Gordon B. Ford.
The project is made possible by the Kentucky General Assembly. As part of House Bill 1, in April 2022 legislators approved funding for a new Gordon Ford College of Business, providing $74.4 million from the state under the 2022-24 budget.
A Steering Committee, led by Gordon Ford College of Business Dean Christopher Shook, has been working with the architects of Gensler (Chicago) to design a space that will elevate business education at WKU. Gensler (Chicago) visited campus and met with key stakeholders, including GFCB faculty, staff, and students, as well as other members of the WKU Community to gather feedback and solicit ideas.
“Through immersive on campus research, engaging with faculty, staff and students through visioning workshops, interviews and conversations, the design team gleaned key insights that informed the design of the new building,” Gensler Senior Associate Janette Scott said. “These range from designing spaces that support interactions between students and faculty, both inside and outside of a typical faculty office, to technology rich classrooms that provide flexibility and adaptability to facilitate new ways of teaching and learning. This project is a testament to the university's commitment to providing the best possible experience for students, faculty, and staff while supporting their strategic vision.”
The new Gordon Ford College of Business will have a modern, flexible, open-space interior that supports active learning, academic innovation, curriculum enhancement, and a strong community. The spaces will more uniformly serve the needs of students, elevate the teaching and research of the faculty and staff, and support GFCB’s ongoing enrollment growth.
“We are seeing tremendous growth across GFCB and that can be attributed to our cutting-edge curriculum and the tremendous work of our faculty and staff,” Dr. Shook said. “They do a fantastic job engaging with students and ensuring they are academically and professionally prepared for life after college. The spaces in the new building will only help us enhance our teaching pedagogies and engagement opportunities with students, the regional business community, and alumni.”
Construction of Grise Hall began in 1964, and it has served as the home for all WKU business classes since its dedication in 1967. To honor the generosity of Gordon B. Ford, the college was renamed the Gordon Ford College of Business in December 1998, becoming the second named business school in Kentucky.
The project is scheduled to break ground this summer and be completed in the fall of 2025. View the latest renderings at www.wku.edu/businesscollege.
Contact: Jace Lux, (270) 745-4295
New College of Business Building
WKU’s 2008-2014 Capital Plan cited the need to construct a new home for the Gordon Ford College of Business. The 2021-2031 Campus Master Plan confirmed that Grise Hall had exceed its useful life and identified a new location (the former site of Tate Page Hall) for a new business building. In April 2022, the Kentucky General Assembly approved $74.4 million for the construction of a new building. The new Gordon Ford College of Business building will:
- Better equip and prepare students
- Serve as a point of pride for the WKU Community and the Commonwealth
- Support the pedagogies, teaching and research of the faculty and staff and GFCB’s ongoing enrollment growth, while serving as the destination of choice for business education.
- Support and enhance the regional business community
- Encourage innovation, invention, creativity, and active learning
- Provide flexible classrooms, new technology, intentionally designed areas for team projects, spaces designed to emulate real-world working environment
- Support GFCB’s mission to prepare the next generations of business professionals through resources such as a virtual reality simulation space, trading lab with access to Bloomberg Terminals, a one-stop-shop Student Success Center, and a Business Hub.
- Transform the way we teach, how we support young people, and how we prepare them for careers.
- Celebrate and modernize 150 years of business education in the region
A Steering Committee, comprised of WKU faculty, staff and students worked with Gensler (Chicago) to design the new building. The 113,000-square-foot Collegiate Georgian-style facility celebrates GFCB’s history and enhances the beauty of our campus. It boasts a three-story atrium, 21 classrooms, adaptable teaching and learning spaces, and a food/coffee shop.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for summer 2023, with opening planned for fall 2025.
- More: Media Kit
- WKU -
Western Kentucky University prides itself on positioning its students, faculty and staff for long term success. As a student-centered, applied research university, WKU helps students expand on classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of the nicest towns in America, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.
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