Stanford breaks ground on new business school

The Stanford Graduate School of Business broke ground Wednesday on a new 360,000-square-foot campus that will seek to achieve the highest level of green building certification, while addressing the academic needs of the school's new MBA curriculum.

The new buildings will satisfy not only the university's guidelines for sustainable buildings but will also seek a platinum certification, the highest level of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating certification system.

“Leading universities of the 21st century need business schools that foster extraordinary intellectual innovation and collaboration,” Robert L. Joss, dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, said in a statement. “This new campus provides the physical infrastructure to enable that academic vision to come to life at Stanford.”

Architects from Portland, Oregon-based BOORA Architects designed the complex of buildings to blend the indoors with the outdoors to create a feeling of outdoor rooms. The landscaping will be arranged to maximize energy efficiency and reduce water usage.

“We are going to use landscape and plantings to shade the buildings so that there is reduced expenditure of energy,” Stanford spokeswoman Barbara Buell said.

Drawing on a toolbox of sustainable ideas, the architects opted to plan for a series of small buildings instead of one large building, which would be more difficult to heat and cool. Cool evening air will be drawn and recycled to reduce the need for air conditioning throughout the day.

Also included in the environmental sustainability design are plans to reduce overall water usage by at least 30 percent, in part by using rainwater or re-circulated gray water, which will reduce the use of potable water.

Solar technology will be incorporated to help reduce current energy efficiency standards by 40 percent, and to ensure healthy indoor air quality, low- or non-volatile organic compound-emitting materials will be used.

Between 50 percent and 75 percent of non-hazardous construction debris will be recycled or salvaged.

The new campus of the business school will include a 600-seat lecture hall, dining facilities, 900 underground parking spaces and dedicated space for career management and executive education programs. It will be named the Knight Management Center, for Phil Knight, Stanford MBA graduate and founder and chairman of Nike, Inc.

In 2007 the school launched a new MBA curriculum that focuses on smaller classes. The new campus design reflects that by including flexible classroom space and breakout study rooms.

The project will cost at least $350 million and is funded in part by a donation of $105 million from Knight. It is expected to open in 2010.

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