Hoisted 50 feet in the air on a construction crane, UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin along with benefactors Sharon and Joel Labovitz, and Boldt Construction Company construction superintendent Stuart Simmons placed an American flag atop the tallest part of the Labovitz School of Business and Economics building currently under construction on the campus. The ritual, called a "Topping off" ceremony, is a long-standing tradition in the building trades---performed in celebration upon completion of the highest part of a building under construction.
Exactly one year ago today (July 18, 2006) UMD held groundbreaking ceremonies for the $23 million building. The Labovitz School of Business and Economics 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 is the 5th new building to be constructed on the UMD campus since 2001.
Scheduled to open in the spring 2008, 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
The LEED checklist addresses five major areas:
The internationally recognized architectural firm Perkins+Will heads up the project, with world-renowned architect Ralph Johnson as the principal designer. Project manager is Eric Spielman of Chicago.
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. 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.
The Labovitz School of Business and Economics currently enrolls over 1900 students, and offers a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Accounting degree at the undergraduate level, along with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at the graduate level.