College of Business to expand

2011-07-15T08:00:00Z College of Business to expandBy GAIL COLE, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

Construction to start in 2013 on 5-story, $50M building

When the current home of Oregon State University’s College of Business, Bexell Hall, was built in 1922, it was the academic base for about 900 students.

After nearly 90 years, the college had grown by the fall of 2010 to about 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students. In all, college officials estimate, about 5,000 students a year take business classes through a business minor or to fulfill requirements in other majors, such as merchandising management and forestry.

So, things have gotten a little tight in Bexell.

“We lack much of the technology and classroom environment that our students deserve,” said Malcolm LeMay, director of operations for the College of Business. “We’re looking to improve the student experience.”

To do just that, the college plans to build a five-story, $50 million, 100,000 square foot building. It is scheduled for completion by fall 2014.

Last month, the state Senate’s Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capital Construction approved $24.1 million in lottery bonds to partially fund the building. Along with the bonds, the university already has raised a significant amount to cover the building project, including a $10 million gift from Joan and Ken Austin, Jr., of Newberg and a $6 million gift from the late Al Reser and his wife, Pat, of Beaverton.

The planned building is to be located just west of Fairbanks Hall and take up a portion of what is now a green field. Designed by Portland-based firm THA Architecture, the space will be nearly double the size of Bexell Hall’s 58,000 square foot interior.

Construction is set to begin in the spring of 2013.

While architects are still putting the plans together, LeMay said the building definitely will have several features that are now common at business schools around the country: teleconferencing technology to host “virtual” guest speakers, a 250-seat lecture hall for large-course sections, tiered classrooms to accommodate seminars and class discussion, plus small “team rooms” where students can collaborate on group projects — a must for graduate students.

The team room space is well-suited to the college’s growing Master of Business Administration degree. The program is hoping to expand from its current 100 graduate students to about 250 over the next four years, said Jim Coakley, a College of Business associate dean and director of graduate business programs.

To attract new students, the college plans to increase the number of specialized tracks graduate students can study; for example, the college will begin offering a “clean technology” track this fall that gives lessons in environmental law and policy in the context of business administration.

LeMay said that the college will continue to occupy some office space in Bexell Hall after the new building is complete. But what other functions the building will serve have yet to bet determined.

Contact Gazette-Times reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9510 or

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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