Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) hopes to consolidate its business courses, expand its program offerings and continue growing enrollment numbers with a new 50,000-square-foot facility for its School of Business Administration at its Mequon campus.
The project, which the private liberal arts university estimates will cost $12 million to $15 million with state-of-the-art amenities, is in the initial stages of planning, said the Rev. Patrick Ferry, president of CUW.
“It would be very premature to say too much about it other than we’re in the early planning phase,” Ferry said. “It’s been identified as a priority for an academic building, but we’re at the very first phase of testing the waters in terms of the fundraising potential for the building.”
With the addition of the building on campus, CUW would not only be able to serve more students, but the Lutheran-affiliated university would also have the infrastructure to implement at least a dozen new bachelor’s degree business programs, all of which are in various stages of being written.
“We have determined that the market is right for these programs right now, and as a result of that, it’s crucial that we have facilities that can assist with making the programs the best they possibly can be,” said David Borst, dean of CUW’s School of Business Administration.
New courses of study will include an entrepreneurship program and a hospitality and event management program, both of which are in the approval process and will potentially debut in fall 2014.
The School of Business Administration also aims to launch a course of study in wealth management and would outfit the new building with a stock ticker room and trading room to accommodate learning objectives.
Other business programs the university currently offers would be enhanced by additional state-of-the-art amenities within the new structure. Borst and other school officials envision the development of a mock trial facility for the school’s justice and public policy program and several crime scene simulation classrooms to aid students pursuing careers in criminal justice.
“We’re going to have some very unusual classrooms,” Borst said.
Many of the new amenities would likely be open for use to the community as well, Borst said.
The new building, which has been in serious discussion for about a year, will further provide a central location for business courses, both new and existing. Currently, courses in the School of Business Administration are scattered in buildings across campus. With 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the School of Business Administration is CUW’s largest school on campus and is one in need of dedicated space, school officials said.
“This is an administrative and a board priority,” Ferry said.
While an informational brochure published by CUW about the new facility states that it will likely be “situated along the Lake Michigan bluff on the south end of campus,” Ferry said the university is not yet certain of its exact location or timeline.
Conceptual renderings of the building have been devised, but those renderings are preliminary and are “bound to change a ton” as the project advances, Ferry said.
CUW is just beginning to reach out to primary donors, academic supporters and board members to gauge their interest in the project.
“The building will be contingent upon our ability to raise funds for it,” Ferry said.
According to Ferry, CUW has already amassed some funds for the project, but does not yet have a lead gift or a naming gift.
“(We’re) just toe in the water at this point,” he said.