New Rohrer College Business Hall welcomes students to ‘new home’ at Rowan

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Rowan University officially opened its latest addition to campus with a ribbon cutting ceremony in the new Business Hall, located next to Westby Hall.

At the ceremony, Dean of Rohrer College of Business Dr. Susan Lehrman, as well as several other representatives from the university and Glassboro town council, christened the building as a “new home,” not just for Rowan students, but also for business leaders everywhere.

“The Business Hall is not just for students and faculty,” Lehrman said. “I really want to emphasize this, we expect South Jersey business leaders to call this building ‘home’ as well. We want, [business leaders in the community] to collaborate with our students on projects, on internships, to serve as mentors and to bring your big ideas for the region to the fore.”

The site of the new four-story building held its groundbreaking ceremony in December 2014. The project cost totaled $63.2 million. Approximately $46 million of the overall project cost was funded by the $117 million referendum received from New Jersey’s Building Our Future Bond Act passed in 2012, according to the facilities, planning and operations page.

Inside, the Business Hall contains 14 classrooms, 7 conference rooms, 10 specialty spaces and a trading room and business center. On the second floor, there is also a “Hatch House,” which is meant for student collaborative projects.

“The concept of the Hatch [House] came from the dean of the college of business,” said Senior Vice President of Facilities, Planning and Operations, Donald Moore. “It’s a free space where people’s thoughts and ideas are free flowing.

“Then you have ‘breakout’ spaces associated with that same Hatch house concept which allows you to go in in clusters and work on your concept and possibly bring it out to a larger group to discuss,” Moore continued.

Several professional architect firms and contractors were used to help produce the final version of the building. A Boston based architecture, planning and preservation firm, Goody Clancy, as well as members from KSS Architects, partnered with Rowan to design Business Hall. KSS architect Pamela Rew said the building’s location on campus was pivotal and serves as a “gateway” to the campus itself.

“It was in the original [Request for Proposal], that was one of the visions for choosing this location for the university,” Rew said. “And it was not just a gateway to the public but it was also is a really important hinge to the campus where student life ebbs and flows.”

The new Business Hall’s sculpture is meant to remind people this building is the gateway into campus. -Photo by Justin Decker

Outside, hanging on the side of the building toward the parking lot and off of Route 322, is a blush sculpture similar in look to that of a rod iron fence. It is meant to signify the hall as the new entry point to the campus.

Artist Ed Carpenter designed the sculpture by winning an art competition the university had created for the piece.

“This is both the physical and the metaphorical entrance to the campus,” Carpenter said. “Originally the architects had envisioned a continuous layer of glass onto which could be created a painting in glass.

“For me I wanted something more sculptural and something that wasn’t a continuous layer but that was more like a bunch of vertical sculptural elements that was more like a grill or a gateway,” Carpenter said.

Made by combining stainless steel with aluminum and laminated safety glass, the piece is meant to glow at night like a beacon, welcoming people to the university, he said.

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