New SBT building construction ahead of schedule


Students, staff  choose furniture for new building

(Webster Groves, MO, April 21, 2011) Students, staff and faculty had a chance to sample and vote for the furniture that might fill the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology building in a furniture fair held April 18 and 19 at Eden Theological Seminary. Construction on the new Business and Technology building is three weeks ahead of schedule, and should be ready to hold classes by Spring II of 2012.

After several months of construction, a desire to complete the project early led to finding more efficient methods, such as working on Saturdays.

“The winter was tough, but if the spring isn’t wetter than usual, we’re a few weeks from having it enclosed,” said Director of Facilities David Stone.

The project is now ahead of its projected timeline. By graduation, the crane will be gone, brickwork will begin and windows should be delivered shortly after that.

Although it will not be ready for classroom use for about a year, the building is projected to be completed by the end of December.

By the time students return for the fall semester, landscaping and brickwork should be completed. Once the building is finished, it will bring a few new features to Webster, including collaborative teaching.  These classrooms will allow for more use of technology and information sharing.

In addition, classroom space in general, Stone said, will be more spacious than the classrooms in the Sverdrup building, where most business and technology classes are currently held.

Also new to Webster through the business building will be traditional seminar-style rooms.  Attendees of the furnature fair were able to try out the potential furniture to fill these new classrooms.

“Rather than showing brochures, we can have people come out and sit and test and kind of ‘kick the tires,’ ” said Catrina Cook, a representative of Spellman Brady and Company, the provider of the furniture displayed.

Set up in the Luhr Library, an array of furniture was on display by category such as conference seating, classroom seating and office furniture.

Students, faculty and staff were free to examine and try-out everything on display then cast a ballot for their favorites.  The results of the voting will be tabulated and used by the planning committee as a guide to select and purchase the furniture when the time comes.

Jerod Welker, graduate assistant to the School of Business and Technology, noticed trends in preference during the fair on Monday.

“The students are probably going to want the most comfortable furniture possible, but of course the faculty is worried if the furniture is too comfortable, the students will fall asleep,” Welker said.  “I don’t really think there’ll be a bad choice.”

The furniture selected will be used in other parts of campus as well. The administration is looking to use some of the furniture ultimately chosen for the School of Business and Technology in other buildings, such as Webster Hall, which would satisfy the issue of uncomfortable furniture  that was presented at the spring 2011 Delegates’ Agenda.

“The administration is committed to taking the information from this and placing some of the selected furniture into Webster Hall and Pearson,’” Stone said.

Programs similar to this week’s fair have been held in the past to select furniture for Emerson Library and the residence halls.  Planners hope this fair is successful in providing the university with furniture to accommodate everyone’s needs.

“One of the components of the new building is general purpose classrooms, so everyone will be using them,” said Greg Gunderson, chief financial officer of Webster.  “These classrooms have a lot of application and so it’s important to get feedback from students in all of the schools.”

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