The building boom at the nation's business schools has spread to USC, which recently broke ground on a new $25-million home for its graduate business programs.
The design of the three-story structure--which will be named the Jane Hoffman and J. Kristoffer Popovich Hall--reflects the desire of university officials to create an environment that fosters collaboration among students and faculty and embraces the newest technology. Even the outdoor cafe tables will be wired to permit students to plug their laptop computers into the Internet.
USC is also under pressure to keep up with the competition. A surge in graduate school applications and the growth of continuing and executive education programs has found many schools scrambling to expand. UCLA and Loyola Marymount University have recently completed new business schools, and a new school is in the works at Chapman University. Popovich Hall, which will open in two years, will allow USC to admit nearly 20% more new students per semester. Each new class will have about 300 students.
"They are having to compete with some of the big new business schools . . . and they need to be right up there [with the top programs]," said project manager Bob Murrin, an architect at Los Angeles-based A.C. Martin Partners.