Next semester students in the Ross School of Business will be the envy of their peers, and not just because they get free business cards. Business School students will have access to cutting-edge classrooms and a brand new gym, all in the same building.

Chris Dzombak /Daily

On Saturday the Business School hosted a reception and preview of its new building. The building will officially open next month, in time for the start of the 2009 winter semester.

The 270,000-square-foot structure on the corner of Hill Street and Tappan Avenue was completed with the help of a $100 million donation from New York-based real estate developer Stephen Ross.

The reception drew hundreds of students, many who were eager to see the inside of the new facility for the first time. Many students at the event said they were excited for the Business School to have a new building.

Business School senior Justin Killion said while he’s excited to use the new facilities, he’s less than impressed with the building’s exterior.

“Honestly, I think the burnt orange, while I understand the tiles are for energy efficiency, is pretty ugly, but it is growing on me slowly,” he said. “The carpet choice leaves much to be desired in the main area. It looks a little like someone used it for a drop cloth while they were painting with some pretty hideous colors.”

Featuring a cavernous three-story glass atrium named the Davidson Winter Garden, the grandeur of the new Business School becomes apparent as soon as you walk in the door.

From the deeply stained hardwood halls and staircases to the walls adorned with over 200 pieces of contemporary artwork, including paintings and sculptures from the Ross Art Collection, the building is more reminiscent of a home than of a typical academic building.

The exterior of the new Business School sports sharp lines and a deep orange façade, while the interior features thousands of square feet of windows, brand new classrooms and a 7,500-square-foot fitness center.

Business School senior Amy Zeng said she is looking forward to using the building’s new state-of-the-art facilities.

“I’m particularly excited for the new gym to open,” she said. “It is so much nicer than the IM building and the CCRB.”

The new facility houses 12 large classrooms that seat 85 or more people, five smaller classrooms, a 500-seat auditorium and numerous group study rooms, each with a flat-panel television. Students can reserve the study rooms using touch screens mounted on each study room door.

Killion said the new classroom facilities will definitely be an upgrade from what the Business School currently uses.

“All of the classrooms were really nice,” he said. “Comfortable chairs, nice whiteboards, flat screen plasmas and projectors were everywhere, so using the new facility will be a breath of fresh air after having to deal with using the cramped classrooms that we currently have.”

The facility is also environmentally friendly, with expansive skylights, high-efficiency electric lighting. The building also has living roofs covered in a drought- and cold-resistant ground cover called sedum, and instead of synthetic padding, cork underlying the floors and walkways. There are two living roofs on the new building and one was added to the Kresge Library. All three are thermally efficient and should help to reduce heating and cooling costs while allowing for gutterless rain and snowmelt management.

A significant portion of the building was constructed using recycled materials. Fifty percent of construction-related debris and 94 percent of demolition-related debris was recycled, making the new building one of the greenest on campus.

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