An sketch of the new building planned for the College of Business Administration. Image courtesy of the UMSL College of Business Administration.

 

By: Anya Glushko

Staff Writer

The date of construction for the new Anheuser-Busch business building is still undetermined. The College of Business Administration at UMSL has received nearly 15 million dollars in cash and commitments. This adds up to roughly one half of what the original budget demanded.

“The plan calls for a phase one that requires about 30 million dollars,” said Keith Womer, Dean of the College of Business Administration (CoBA).

The exact date for the start of the construction has yet to be determined, though it can be said with some certainty that it will not begin any sooner than 2013.

In the spring of 2012, Missouri legislators passed a bill permitting the state to match private giving on a one-to-one basis. The bill was signed by Governor Jay Nixon on July 5.

“Our hopes and dreams are that the state will fund [construction of the new business building] during the current legislative session,” said Womer. “If that happens, we will be able to move almost immediately following that.”

UMSL does not plan to give up fundraising. The University had been receiving an average of $7 million a year since the launch of the Gateway to Greatness Campaign in 2005 and expects to keep it up.

“We will continue to try to raise funds for the building,” said Womer. “…We are certainly looking at other possible sources, but the amount that we have left to come up with is large enough that we almost surely will need government support.”

A major donation to UMSL’s College of Business department came from the Anheuser-Busch Company. Payments totaling 2.5 million dollars were made over the last five years. The final payment was made this August.

Business Administration is the largest single major at UMSL. The second largest is Accounting. UMSL’s International Business program has been ranked among the top twenty in the world for the last nine years.

“It [business related majors] is a very big part of the university,” said Womer. “Our students graduate, live, and work in St. Louis, so we are a major contributor to the St. Louis workforce.”

With CoBA’s popularity and the increase in undergraduate student enrollment, there is constant pressure for space on campus. After the construction of the new business building is complete, other, older buildings will be torn down. The space will be used for new learning labs.

Currently, CoBA has its offices scattered in the Social Sciences and Business Building/Tower, the JC Penny Building, and Express Scripts Hall.

“There is very little space where students can congregate,” said Womer.

The new business building will be connected with Express Scripts Hall. It will house classrooms, offices, and other educational facilities that will provide easy access to resources for students as well as professors. The construction of the new building will also enable the university to offer classes at more convenient times.

“Our evening classes are essentially occupied one hundred percent,” said Womer. “More space will allow us to be more flexible for our students.”