Last year, Spencer and Marlene Hays donated $30 million to help build a new business commons for TCU students.
Since then, the school’s dean, along with a committee of Neeley employees and Canon Design, has been working to create blueprints for the new and renovated buildings in the business commons, the director of marketing and communications for the Neeley School of Business Jeffrey Waite said.
The two-year project is expected to begin construction in May 2016.
The construction plan adds two new buildings and remodels Tandy Hall, Dan Rogers Hall and Steve & Sarah Smith Entrepreneurs Hall.
The new space is expected to change the way the business school approaches learning and engagement, said O. Homer Erekson, the John V. Roach Dean of the Neeley School and professor of managerial economics and strategy.
Erekson said the broad idea is that the whole school is connected so students can essentially move from one building to the next.
The new buildings will have more space for students to work on group projects, study and hang out with friends.
Many professors in the Neeley School said they think the addition of those spaces will help students get a better idea of what the business world will be like.
“Once outside the confines of TCU, students will have to interact with colleagues in a variety of settings,” marketing professor Vanessa Shropshire said. “The more chance[s] we give students to intermingle with each other, the better.”
Tandy Hall and Dan Rogers Hall will be considered the “core academic building,” Erekson said.
The second floor of the connected buildings will be designated for classrooms, while the third floor will be for faculty offices.
Many of Neeley’s professors said they think it will be beneficial to have all the staff located in one area.
“I love collaborating with other professors and [having faculty offices located near each other] will make it much easier,” Shropshire said.
Dan Rogers will also be home to career services and academic advising. It will include a dining option on the first floor to meet the needs of hungry students.
Smith Hall will be renovated as part of the last phase of the construction process.
The hall will still promote entrepreneurship, but its amenities will be changed to reflect the atmosphere of a working environment.
The first floor of Smith will be changed from a place where students relax between classes to an area where they can work, talk with employers or even start up their own student companies, Erekson said.
Erekson said Neeley’s goal with the business commons is to make it a place to learn both inside and outside the classroom.
Senior marketing major Carly Hirvela said she thinks the new buildings will give students a glimpse of what it’s like to work in their specific field of study before graduating.
“I think the atmosphere will help the students learn more about the environments that they will be entering,” Hirvela said.
The new building located behind Dan Rogers is yet to be named, but will include additional classroom space for students.
Many business students said they are most excited for the outdoor seating that will be located in the middle of the commons because they feel that type of space is currently lacking.
“In between classes, there’s really no place to hang out, unless you want to hang out inside Smith, which is kind of crowded,” senior finance major Perry Locke said. “So I think it will be nice to have some place outside with a little more relaxing feel where everyone can congregate.”
How administration will accomodate classes and faculty offices during the construction period is still in the planning stages, Waite said.
“We will look for classroom space outside of Neeley,” Waite said. “Faculty and staff offices may occupy portable buildings during the construction phase.”
The business commons is expected to cost about $100 million, senior finance major and Neeley ambassador Sarah Doherty said.
Erekson said the school is still looking for donors to help fund the project and construction may be delayed if sufficient funds are not in order.