Students, faculty, deans turn out to celebrate completion of Rutgers Business School building on Livingston Campus

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Temi Obaisi, a business analytics student, stood outside the Rutgers Business School building on the Livingston Campus last month marveling at more than its modern design, its high-tech lecture halls and new lounges.

“The building makes me feel more important,” she said. “There’s a pride now about being a business school student.”

Obaisi and a handful of her classmates were among more than 100 students who stopped between classes to celebrate the completion of the business school building.

The event, which borrowed the building's nickname of 100 Rock, drew more than students. A handful of deans, faculty members and staff also crowded onto a large patio outside the grand front entrance, a spot where architect Enrique Norten explained in an interview earlier this year that he hoped such celebrations would occur. Another more formal dedication ceremony is scheduled at the new building on Oct. 25. 

At the event last month, radio station Z100 provided music, restaurants on the Livingston Campus were on hand with snacks and lots of people in the crowd munched on soft pretzels provided by Rutgers Business School’s MBA offices.

The Scarlet Knight plays Jenga.

As a late summer afternoon breeze swept through the five-story-high columns at the plaza’s edge, the Scarlet Knight played a giant-sized game of Jenga and students posed for photographs with Z100 radio personality Carla Marie.

The $85 million building, which creates a striking gateway to the Livingston Campus, represents an expansion of Rutgers Business School and an elevation of its profile in the larger university community.

Noman Rarooqui, a junior accounting major, said he liked the new classrooms, especially the ones designed to encourage students to work in teams, as well as the cohesiveness the building created by housing the business school operations under one roof. "When I first got to Rutgers, it was a bit overwhelming,” Rarooqui said, explaining that the new building changes that situation by “centralizing everything” for business school students.

The sentiment was echoed often among students who have spent previous years attending classes scattered among two or more buildings on the campus. Now, their classrooms are located under one roof and so are their classmates.

Obaisi, a junior, said meeting up with her friends during the day – as she did on the day of the the event – would have happened in the past only with some planning and probably only around lunch in the dining hall.

“We’re excited to see one another,” she said. “We’re only here with other business students, so you know you’re friends are here in the building somewhere.” 

The new Rutgers Business School building on the Livingston Campus has impressed students as well as faculty.

Many students also expressed a general appreciation of the building’s striking design. “It’s not like any building I’ve been in before,” said senior Jon Tezbin. “It’s huge.”

Students generally liked the airy, light-filled lounges, the tech-equipped lecture halls and the overall striking appearance of the building.

"It’s modern and more spacious,” said senior Prahlad Annamraju who is studying finance. “It’s not crowded like our classes were Beck and Lucy Stone Hall.”

"It’s pretty,” RBS junior Yesha Chokshi said. “I feel like appearance makes a difference in how a school is perceived even if it’s a great school.”

The 143,000-square-foot building was designed to be as impressive as a corporate headquarters and equipped with $4 million worth of technology to enhance teaching and learning. The building is powered by solar canopies created over on-campus parking lots and a nearby geo-thermal field heats and cools the six floors of classrooms, offices, lounges, computer labs and meeting rooms.

"A lot of things were done to make the building as green as possible,” said Kevin Dowlin, Rutgers Business School’s director of information technology.

The glass exterior of the new building allows for great views of the campus.

Students weren’t the only ones impressed by the building.

Professor Jeffrey Robinson said he liked the classrooms "a lot."

"The technology is nice. The seating arrangements are great," he said. "From a pedagoical perspective, this will be great."

Michael Barnett, a business school vice dean and professor, walked through the building for the first time since its completion during the 100 Rock event. The last time he took a tour the building was still a skeleton of steel beams.

“It’s grand to say the least,” Barnett said. In addition to the open spaces and the technology, Barnett agreed with others that the dramatic, corporate-like look of the building is significant.

"We’re training students to be business professionals,’ he said. “We want to give them a corporate setting where they can feel like they’re preparing to be part of the business world.”

-Susan Todd

TAGS: City of New Brunswick Livingston Campus Technology Undergraduate New Brunswick