The new wing will add classrooms, a testing center and office space to current building.The Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University officially broke ground Wednesday morning on a $15 million expansion project that will result in a new west wing for the college's existing building.
The new three-story, 38,000-square-foot addition, approved by the Texas Tech Board of Regents, will match the current building's architecture and was designed by Parkhill, Smith and Cooper, who designed the original building. Lee Lewis Construction, who built the original structure, is the expansion's contractor.
"It's really exciting for us," Rawls College of Business dean Lance Nail said. "This was the original part of the building that didn't come online as we built it, so now the expansion brings us full circle to where we planned to be a few years ago. We've had such growth lately. We're going to need this space as we move forward. We're over 90 percent capacity now in classroom space and more freshmen are coming in every year."
The addition is set for completion by fall of 2016, which Nail said has become necessary due to the growth of the college. When the original building opened in 2012, Nail said, the college had fewer than 4,000 students. This fall he expects the college to top 5,000 students, with a target of 6,000 by 2020.
"We've had countless students go through these doors of the new Rawls College of Business since its opening, and we find ourselves breaking ground on a new addition so soon after completion of the first phase," Texas Tech President M. Duane Nellis said. "That really is a testament to the faculty, staff, students and leadership through Dean Lance Nail. Students in the Rawls College are enrolled in some of the most cutting-edge and entrepreneurial programs available not only in Texas but in our nation, and we're extremely proud of the Rawls College and what it has to offer."
The new wing will feature four new classrooms, a state-of-the-art testing center for student exams, a third-floor behavioral research laboratory and a multipurpose space for events, guest speakers and student engagement.
There also will be a Chick-fil-A eatery for students in the courtyard as well as an entrance on the west side that will enhance the experience for visitors to that side of campus.
"I think the thing is we have utilized the great technology, and the current building is a beautiful facility," Nail said. "But we've learned from the last three and a half years in that building and we've actually listened to our students on what worked well and what didn't work well and tried to incorporate a lot of that into the planning of this building and having more engagement space for students and classrooms that are more friendly for the learning environment. I think as word of that gets around it helps us recruit more students as well."