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The newest major building on campus is now officially:

Open for business

After 69 years, three name changes, and a dozen moves, the Faculty of Business now has a home it can call its own.

Standing proudly at the north end of the Arts Court, the Faculty of Business Building has taken its place among the major structures on campus, its red brick and pillars nodding to the Arts Building and the era of beginnings, and its clean modern design a link with its neighbors born of a more functional age: Tory, HUB, Humanities and, across the Arts Court, Rutherford North.

The new structure is a linking building in another way as well. With its connection to Tory and its elevated pedway to HUB, the Business Building extends to the northern border of campus an interior walkway system which begins at the distant Law Centre and leads to the Fine Arts Centre, HUB, Humanities and the old and new Rutherfords.

The new building meets the Henry Marshall Tory Building in a light and spacious atrium, giving the main entrance to Tory a welcoming aspect it had always lacked. It was in this atrium that on November 26 more than 600 people representing the business, government and academic communities gathered for the official opening of the Faculty of Business Building.

Highlighting the ceremonies was an address by Premier Peter Lougheed, who stressed the challenges for Alberta in international trade and business.

Also participating in the opening ceremonies were the president of the University, Myer Horowitz; the dean of the Faculty of Business, Roger S. Smith; the provincial minister of municipal affairs and MLA for Edmonton Strathcona, Julian Koziak; the provincial minister of advanced education, Dick Johnston; the University's chancellor, Peter Savaryn; the chairman of the University's board of governors, John Schlosser; and Robert Stollery, chairman and chief executive officer of PCL Construction Ltd.

Other platform guests included Mrs. Shirley Stollery; Eric Geddes, past chairman of the business advisory council of the Faculty of Business; William A. Weir, president of A.V. Carlson Construction Corporation Ltd.; Donald Bittorf, principal-in-charge of Donald G. Bittorf Architect Ltd.; and Peter R. Winters, chairman of the building committee, Faculty of Business.

A reception followed and students conducted tours of the impressive new home of the Faculty of Business, which had its beginning in 1915–16 as the School of Accountancy.

Originally, the School was a charge of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and was housed in the Arts Building. In 1928, through a change of name, it became the School of Commerce. In 1960 another name change reflected a new status: the Faculty of Business Administration and Commerce became the University of Alberta's tenth faculty. Two years later, it moved into what became known as the Commerce Hut — the old infirmary built during the Second World War – and grew from there.

Faculty and staff were added. Courses and programs grew. The Faculty split and moved into spaces around the University as they became available. Planning for a new building began.

And then questions arose over the site proposed for the building and the possibility of renovating an old building. Funding was delayed and priority was given to other University building projects. The Faculty divided and moved again. Then the building boom of the late 1960s and early 1970s ended.

While the Faculty made use of whatever space it could find on campus, planning for the new building continued into the '80s. Then, in March of 1982, funding of $17 million for the long-awaited home for the Faculty was announced in the Provincial Legislature. By this time the Faculty — which that summer changed its name to the Faculty of Business – had spread into parts of the Central Academic Building, Athabasca Hall, the Athabasca Hall Annex, and the South Laboratory Building. Even with the completion of the new building, limited space requires that some graduate student study space remains in the South Lab.

Construction of the Business Building began in 1982 and was completed in the summer of 1984. The architect for the project was Donald G. Bittorf of Edmonton, and construction was by A.N. Carlson. PCL Construction was contracted separately for the Stollery Executive Development Centre.

The Stollery Centre, which provides a focal point for interaction between the University and the business community is situated as a partial fifth floor atop the Business Building. On the four floors below are modern classrooms, each wired for potential computer use, and each equipped with either permanent or portable audio visual equipment. The largest of these have tiered floors and seat 90 comfortably. Others seat 60. Horseshoe-shaped seating in the smaller classrooms accommodates the case-study method of teaching.

There are also computer labs, efficient administrative offices, and the quiet and spacious Winspear Reading Room, which houses the business reference collection of the University Library. Pleasant lounges and study areas are found on all four floors; for the building was designed to encourage informal interaction amongst students and faculty.

After 69 years the former School of Accountancy has grown to become one of the University's largest faculties, with 1,540 students enrolled on a full-time basis for undergraduate study and more than 100 others registered in the MBA program. Now it has a home that can accommodate the kinds of programs envisioned by both the academic and business communities.

Published Spring 1985.

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