In its perennial quest to climb higher atop the rankings of the nation’s top business schools, Northwestern University launched a new weapon Thursday as it broke ground on a five-story 410,000-square-foot home for its Kellogg School of Management on its Evanston lakefront campus.
In a lavish groundbreaking ceremony attended by university trustees, academic deans, school alumni, students, and former dean Donald P. Jacobs, for whom the current Kellogg headquarters was named, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro described the new building as “unbelievably functional.”
“This magnificent new home will reflect Kellogg’s dedication to reinventing management education,” he said, “and it will further bolster the interdisciplinary approach that drives Northwestern’s leadership position in business.”
But more to the point was Trustee Gordon I. Segal, chair of the trustees’ Educational Properties Committee, who told the gathering that the present facilities “weren’t up to standards” and that it was important for the school to have a first-rate facility if it is to attract the cream of the crop among faculty and students.
In the widely-touted rankings of business schools by U.S. News, Kellogg currently is tied for fourth place with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, behind Harvard, Stanford and Pennsylvania.
In sixth place is cross-town rival, the University of Chicago.
A two-story 6,600-square-foot-conservatory is considered by the architects as the most dynamic room in the building. The space will be able to accommodate 250 people for dinners or 350 people for speeches and presentations.
To enhance innovation and collaboration, the new hub will be a flexible, multi-faceted space that can be easily reconfigured so that lecture-style classrooms can become large seminar rooms and offices can become study rooms, according to a university news release on the building.
A $350 million capital campaign, which includes $250 million to finance the construction of the new building, has already reached $190 million, according to Kellogg Dean Sally Blount. Included is a $17 million bequest from the estate of James R. Russell, which university officials contend is the largest gift in Kellogg’s history.
Appropriately, a lake-view lounge in the new facility will be named in memory of Russell and his wife, Helen.
Construction of the building is scheduled to begin early next year, with anticipated completion in late 2016, on the north end of the campus, adjacent to the James L. Allen Center, which houses Kellogg’s executive education programs.
The building was designed by the Toronto-based architectural firm of Kubara Payne McKenna Blumberg (KPMB).