It was 1970 when Utah State University students first entered the brand new George S. Eccles Business Building. They were delighted with the new campus landmark and all it had to offer.
The Dean's Office has been replaced with a student lounge.
This fall – nearly 40 years later – it’s as if history repeated itself. Business students returned to campus to find that the George S. Eccles Business building boasts $2.5 million in renovations – dramatic improvements to the building’s first three floors that bring more light, study space, and areas for student interaction. The improvements inside were so surprising to them that one student said he thought for a moment he had gone into the wrong building.
The building’s renovation was made possible by a genrous grant of $1 million from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, along with $10,000 from the Associated Students of USU, additional funds from USU and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.
The George S. Eccles Business Building has served students well over the years, but “38 years of wear and tear – combined with innovations in business education – brought about the need to revitalize the building’s interior space,” according to Dean Douglas D. Anderson.
He expressed appreciation for the renovation gift from the Eccles Foundation, noting that it has “built upon what George S. Eccles began in the 1970’s.”
Bridget Flynn takes in the remodel.
“The original investment Mr. Eccles made in USU’s business programs and facilities enabled us to open this building,” said Dean Anderson. “Now, through the continuing generosity of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, the building is continuing to evolve to better meet the needs of students today. We know that a key part of the educational process starts after class as the students work together to test ideas, find solutions and complete projects together. The renovation is facilitating that type of interaction.”
Foundation President Lisa Eccles, a great-niece of George S. Eccles, said: “It is heartening for us to know the George S. Eccles Business Building, which meant so much to Uncle George, will continue to be a welcome hub of activity for students, faculty and campus visitors.
“We realize this is just the beginning of the exciting expansion and renovation of Utah State University’s entire business campus, and we’re delighted that the Eccles Business Building will remain at the heart of the Huntsman School of Business,” she said.
Adam Croshaw, business senator for the Huntsman School of Business, described the expanded study spaces, new conference room, and the brighter, open surroundings on the renovated floors of the building, as “awesome for the students.”
“This is a testament to how much the business faculty members care about students and want them to succeed,” he said. “As students, we value opportunities to network with faculty and fellow students and this creates new spaces where much more of this will happen. We’re so appreciative of what the Huntsman School of Business and the Eccles Foundation have created. It’s going to make a big difference in the success of the business school.”
Students study in the new lounge.
Driving factors behind the renovation were to create more study and interaction space for students while bringing more natural light into the building. Project manager Boyd Viehweg of Axis Architecture said it was clear from the start that Dean Anderson was committed to changes that would – first and foremost – benefit students.
“He was so serious about this,” said Viehweg, “he offered up the dean’s suite of five offices, including his own, to be transformed into the student lounge and study area.”
This innovative new lounge area on the second floor will soon include several LCD monitors featuring breaking news and events at the Huntsman School of Business. Dean Anderson’s former office is now a glassed-in conference room in the student lounge.
“As much as we valued the space, our students needed it more,” Dean Anderson said. “I know they will put it to good use.”
In addition to the expansion of study-lounge areas, space for the Huntsman School of Business Programs and Advising Center was renovated and doubled in size.
“This expanded space creates a centralized location for student services, which will increase convenience and functionality for all students,” said Ruth Harrison, the director of undergraduate programs.
Other renovation highlights include:
Russell Price, a USU campus advisor to the project, said many universities provide too little space for the after-class collaboration that makes a tremendous impact on students’ learning experiences.
Business students try out the new renovated classrooms.
“What I see the Huntsman School of Business doing is providing leadership in putting students first,” he said.
Students have noticed … and they are benefitting already.
“It’s great to have these new spaces, right here on campus, to work with fellow students on projects, or even just to relax together between classes,” said Josh Kerkmann, a senior majoring in international business, finance and economics.
“It is gratifying to see more of our students choosing to spend their time right here in the George S. Eccles Business Building,” said Dean Anderson. “It’s become more than the business school’s home … it’s their home. The students themselves have raised money and supported our efforts to lift this great business school to a new level. This is only the beginning.”