University of Minnesota Duluth block M and wordmark

 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

July 26, 2006
Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830
Kjell Knudsen, Dean, Labovitz School of Business and Economics 218 726-7288

UMD Breaks Ground for $23 Million
Labovitz School of Business and Economics

Designed to be an Environmental
"Green Building"

UMD held groundbreaking ceremonies today for the $23 million Labovitz School of Business and Economics to be constructed on the campus. The school is named for Duluth natives Sharon and Joel Labovitz who made a gift of $4.5 million to help fund the new building. The gift is the largest ever for the School of Business and Economics, and the second largest for UMD. Their generosity provided the impetus to Governor Pawlenty and local legislative leaders to pave the way to an award of $15.3 million in state funding. University funds will also be used for the balance of construction costs. The Labovitz School of Business and Economics will be the 5th new building to be constructed on the UMD campus since 2001.

Architect rendering of Labovitz building.
Rendering from architectural firm Perkins+Will.

The new 65,000 gross square foot building will be approximately 1.5 times the size of the current business school. Located on the northwest corner of the UMD campus, across from the new library, the structure will include state-of-the-art facilities to provide business education in a knowledge-based global economy. Plans call for the building to contain the latest in advanced technology with modern computer labs, facilities for distance learning and conferencing, and multipurpose classrooms. Scheduled for completion in the summer of 2008, the three-story structure will link to the existing library annex on the lower level, thus continuing the inter-connected interior walkway system for nearly every building on the UMD campus.

UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin said, "The wonderful generosity of Sharon and Joel Labovitz will provide benefits to students and area residents for decades to come. We are enormously grateful to these two outstanding Duluthians for their tremendous commitment to UMD and to this entire region." She added, "And we sincerely thank Governor Pawlenty and our area legislators for their strong support in making this wonderful building possible."

The Labovitz School of Business and Economics will be the first new public higher education building in the state of Minnesota to be a LEED certified "green building". LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a "green building" rating system established by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Labovitz School will be totally designed to meet LEED certification--a rigorous process that evaluates the environmental sustainability of building design, construction and operation. See enclosed description of Labovitz sustainability features.

The LEED checklist concerns five major areas:

  • Sustainable Sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy and Atmosphere
  • Materials and Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality

The internationally recognized architectural firm Perkins+Will heads up the project, and world-renowned architect Ralph Johnson is the principal designer. Project manager is Eric Spielman of Chicago. Perkins+Will was named Firm of the Year in 1999 by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), their highest honor. As a leader in educational and university architecture, the firm is committed to the design standards of environmental sustainability, with over 70% of their staff LEED accredited.

The building will be organized around a three-story, sky lit common area surrounded by a two-level administrative block, a large 150-seat auditorium and a rotated instructional wing containing classrooms for 40 and 60 students. The design will serve to harvest daylight and reduce the building's energy consumptions while providing views to the surrounding wetlands and Lake Superior

Located between the new library and the library annex, the new facility will be oriented in an east/west direction perpendicular to the existing campus development. The result is the creation of a new gateway to the campus for those approaching from the Northwest. Above the classroom wing will be a layer of thin concrete plates that will "float" above and extend westward over Kirby Drive, thus creating a new front door and a literal gateway to the campus.

The building will be composed of a rich palette of natural materials including weathering steel, exposed concrete, a system of multicolored patterned window curtainwalls, and a taconite feature wall. The materials will serve not only as reminders of the rich industrial history that has shaped the growth of the Duluth area, but also to further articulate the programmatic elements contained within the building.

"The promise of this outstanding new building cannot be overestimated," said LSBE Dean Kjell Knudsen. "Through the generosity of Sharon and Joel Labovitz, the Labovitz School of Business and Economics has a golden opportunity to further grow in stature and reputation and significantly contribute to the strength of our area and the entire state."

Choose appearance:
[ Desktop | Mobile friendly ]