The Bill and Mary Ann Becker Business Building, though already open to Florida Southern Students and faculty, will be officially dedicated on Nov. 5.
Bill Becker and his wife, Mary Ann, donated $5 million for the facility that will be the new home to the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise. The three-story, 40,000-square-foot parallelogram cost about $20 million to complete.
FSC Provost, Kyle Fedler, said that the building would not be possible without alumni and donors.
“It’s the largest academic building on campus since Polk science was built and the second largest academic building overall,” Fedler said. “While Mr. Becker was the naming gift, the Barnet gift made possible the building as well, Of course there were other significant donors.”
While few interior and exterior finishing touches are still underway, the building took a little under a year to complete.
“What’s nice is as opposed to what some schools do… is that all of our new building are completed from donated money. We don’t borrow money to build buildings,” Fedler said. “We will if it’s an apartment we want to buy because we know it will generate revenue, but we don’t want to build a building and saddle you guys with the debt. Christoverson was fully funded, the nursing building, it’s two editions and Rinker technology- everything.”
According to the Dean of the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise, William Rhey, the excitement of the entire faculty is like ‘kids in a candy store.’
“It the past five years we’ve grown from 12 to 20 faculty members. My favorite part has been seeing all of their excitement.”
The business school has introduced several new majors to FSC’s curriculum. Students can now major in healthcare administration, political economy, business and free enterprise and sports management, which Rhey believes will soon be one of the largest majors in the business school.
Technology will have a major presence in every classroom. The Becker Building will have some of the most technologically advanced rooms on campus.
The building will feature a simulated trading floor and an investment analysis and trading strategy laboratory. It also will feature a computer lab, and career and placement center. In the simulated trading room, a 114-foot-long LED ticker of real-time NASDAC stock market prices, a 153-square-foot video display and 12 Bloomberg terminals will be used for students to get hands-on experience managing mock portfolios.
Students will soon be able to book study rooms to practice presentations and hold group meetings, though the process has not been entirely decided on yet.
In June 2013, the Barnett School of Business received accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). About only 5 percent of the business schools across the nation have this accreditation.
“This has opened so many opportunities for students already,” Rhey said. “We’ve has success with fortune 500 companies hiring our students, but also a lot of those companies will send their employees to get MBA’s. We’ve found that the number of students and the quality of students have already increased as a result of the ASCSB accreditation.”
The ASCSB accreditation has requirements for quality education and faculty output.
Robert A.M. Stern, a New York architect and dean of the Yale School of Architecture, designed the building. He also designed Nicholas and Wesley Barnett freshman residence halls and the Christoverson humanities building.