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Volume 71, Issue 77, Friday, January 27, 2006


UHD to break ground on new building

Dean 'thrilled to death' about technological accommodations 
and 'smart classrooms'

Senior Staff Writer

The UH-Downtown campus will be breaking ground for a new business building Tuesday near the intersection of Shay Street and Main Street. 

The event begins at 8 a.m. with an address from UHD President Max Castillo, followed by an informal groundbreaking ceremony at 9:30 a.m.

The building is scheduled to be ready for classes by Fall 2007. 

Donald Bates, dean of the college of business at UHD, said the building will allow the University to house more business majors. 

UH-Downtown will break ground Tuesday on a new College of Business building. The building will allow the University to enroll about 800 more business students.
Courtesy of UH-Downtown

The building will feature state-of-the-art classrooms. Construction is funded by tuition revenue and state contributions. 

"We're thrilled to death," Bates said. "We know it will enable us to accommodate more students to meet the growing need of businesses in the Houston area."

Bates said having a standalone building will allow the school to accommodate about 800 more business majors. 

Aside from a new public service building two blocks south on Commerce Street, Bates said everything at UHD is housed in one building on Main Street.

"All schools, all colleges, all classes, all administrative offices, everything is done here at one main in these two converted warehouses," Bates said.

Bates helped design some aspects of the building when he became dean in July 2005. 

The new building will have wireless capabilities and a variety of different classrooms, including classrooms designed for graduate study and technologically advanced "smart" classrooms.

"They'll have all the bells and whistles and gadgetry," Bates said. "We were trying to look anywhere from seven to 10 years down the road and said, ‘Let's design a building for the future, not the present.'"

The building will relay an atmosphere more like a major corporation's headquarters than a school on a college campus. Bates said this will add to the overall ambiance and help enrich the learning environment for the students.

"It will begin to make us look more like a campus with more buildings and those kinds of things," he said. "I think that what it will add in terms of the atmosphere -- the learning atmosphere -- will certainly enrich what goes on in the classroom."

The building will house mostly business faculty, and business majors will get priority regarding its use, Bates said.

On Tuesday, Castillo will address Texas higher education during his speech before the groundbreaking ceremony. The address will be made on the third floor of the Academic Building at UHD.

"Congress recently voted the biggest cut in history to the student loan program at a time when college is more important, and more expensive than ever," Castillo said in a release. "When you think about the fact that banks provide 17 times more money for cars than students, it just doesn't make sense."

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