Radford University celebrates opening of $44 million business school building

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Radford University showed off the new $44 million home of the school’s College of Business and Economics on Wednesday.  About 400 government officials, business leaders and benefactors gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the 100,110-square-foot building.

Designed as a signature project at a gateway location leading into RU’s campus, the COBE project offers the latest in technology. Students will be able to get hands-on experience in financial operations in a studio that simulates the environment of a trading room floor with mounted screens, a stock ticker and a global clock.

Faye W. Gilbert, dean of RU’s College of Business and Economics, said another benefit is plenty of gathering spaces for students. RU has about 1,500 business majors among its 9,400-student body, and this fall enrolled its largest freshman class ever, 2,078 students. 

Chairs and tables fill every nook and corner of the new COBE building, allowing for informal gatherings and discussions, while breakout rooms ― many with technology that allows students to collaborate by connecting laptops, I-pads and smartphones through large computer screens ― provide formal space for study projects. Those spaces haven’t been empty since the building opened in late August with the start of this year’s classes, Gilbert said.

Altogether, the building’s three-stories offer 14 classrooms and office space for the school’s 47 professors. “You have been in offices and classrooms scattered across campus as our curriculum grew and our enrollment outgrew our space. Now you are all here under one roof. Welcome home,” RU President Penelope W. Kyle, said during comments Wednesday.

Dan Davidson, chair of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Business Law, credits student interest in the building with a turnout other professors would like to see:  near perfect attendance in his 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. classes.

The building broke ground in May 2010. The state funded $34 million of the project, with the rest of the cost covered by RU.

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