The James A. Haslam II Business Building on the campus of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is now open for business.
A grand opening celebration was held on Tuesday and classes began Wednesday.
As part of the grand opening festivities, College of Business Administration Dean Jan Williams hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the atrium of the new building. Speakers included UT President John Petersen, UT Knoxville Interim Provost Susan Martin and businessman Jim Haslam, a major UT donor for whom the new building is named.
During the festivities, a multi-story ribbon that hung in the atrium was cut.
Williams said the $46 million building represents a critical partnership between UT, the state of Tennessee and private donors.
"State funds supported a large part of the structure. We thank the dedicated members of the Tennessee General Assembly and State Building Commission who have supported this project," he said. "We’ve looked to private support to provide furnishings, infrastructure and technology to complete the facility."
The new six-floor, 174,000-square-foot building at the corner of Andy Holt Avenue and Volunteer Boulevard houses 34 classrooms; more than 75 offices for faculty, staff and administration; 35 team and presentation rooms; a technology center; an investments learning center; and a spectacular atrium for gatherings of students, faculty, corporate visitors, alumni and friends.
An alumnus of the college, Haslam — founder and chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp. — and his family have been generous supporters of the university and the college. Haslam and his wife, Natalie, both 1952 graduates, have donated $7.5 million to the College of Business Administration. The money was part of a $38.2 million gift to UT.
The Haslams’ gift helped equip the building with technology. The Haslams also endowed a distinguished professorship in entrepreneurship and innovation and created a Torch Fund which provides experiential learning through student-led investing.
Following the ceremony, guests were invited to tour the building and experience its state-of-the-art technology.
For instance, in the Investments Learning Center, guests saw how students can use two Bloomberg terminals and a Traslux electronic datawall/ticker to see market fluctuations in real time. The room also provides a work center for the groups of students who manage the college’s Torch Funds, investing donors’ actual money in the market and giving reports on their results.
Guests also visited one of the building’s technology-rich classrooms. The room features a giant high-definition screen on which instructors can project videos, presentations and financial and news TV channels. The technology — which also includes a high-powered document camera and videoconferencing capability — allows split screen projection and freeze-frame function. Instructors also can make notes on the screens as the presentations are taking place.
Martin said the college is working to raise $15 million in private funding to create an endowment whose earnings would provide a perpetual cash flow to keep the technology current.
"With the new building comes new educational opportunities for our students, including international business, information management, and entrepreneurship and innovation," she said. "These complement the college’s traditional strengths in accounting, finance, logistics and marketing.
"When you combine the strength of our faculty with the depth of our programs and the tools of this facility, it adds up to be the very best training ground for leaders of tomorrow — not only for our state, but for the nation and the world," she said.
Construction on the James A. Haslam II Business Building began in November 2005.
The new building was constructed on the site of the former Glocker Business Administration Building, and the façade of that building was preserved as part of the new structure.
"The Glocker wing in our new building was named as a tribute to Theodore Wesley Glocker Sr., the first dean of the college," Williams said.
In a drawing held Tuesday during a faculty-staff open house at the new building, three people won College of Business Administration gift bags. The winners were Sara Nita Stewart, an accounting specialist; Laura Ellison, an interpreter with Disability Services; and Suzanne Bozell, an employee’s spouse.