Sauder School of Business unveils first phase of $85 million renewal


The Sauder School of Business has unveiled the completed first phase of an $85 million renewal and expansion of the School’s facilities. This revitalization is the culmination of several years of investment and engagement involving many segments of the Sauder community locally and abroad–students, alumni, faculty and staff, the business community, UBC, and the Government of British Columbia.

The building reconstruction was designed by Acton Ostry Architects Inc. and constructed by the Scott Construction Group, with the UBC Properties Trust serving as project manager. The revitalization project adds 50,000 square feet to the existing 216,000 square feet of the Henry Angus complex, providing a new facility for the Robert H. Lee Graduate School and the dedicated Bruce Birmingham Undergraduate Centre. It includes the Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre, which enables connections between students and the business community and offers enhanced career management programming for students and alumni. The facility also offers amenities such as a bookstore and café.

The expansion includes a five-level addition and sky-lit atrium. The renewed space incorporates nine new classrooms (featuring state-of-the-art technology including SMART podiums, video projectors, and document cameras), and significant working and social space to accommodate evolving teaching techniques and enable collaborative learning. Conference spaces and meeting rooms connect students, alumni, and the business community. There are three new videoconference-enabled classrooms and two mobile videoconferencing units, which bring the global business community into the classroom. Nine digital monitors throughout the facility broadcast information related to the Sauder School’s activities, as well as general business information and other notices of interest to the Sauder community.

In addition, the original concrete building was wrapped with a new glazed façade that references a barcode—the rhythm and pattern language universally associated with digital commerce and the transfer of business information. An oscillating pattern of stained blue and green wood panels—whose colours were inspired from the paintings of BC artists such as B.C. Binning, Gordon Smith, and Emily Carr— was applied to the building’s original structure.

“We realized that the rhythm of the existing building structure reminded us of a barcode,” explained Russell Acton, Principal, Acton Ostry Architects. “We used code 39, a common barcode standard, to spell out ‘Sauder School of Business’ as a base from which to create a new identity for the face of the school.”

Over the life of the building, it is estimated that over 30,000 students and alumni will benefit from the new learning environment.

The revitalization project is part of the Opening Worlds Campaign, chaired by Fred Withers, BCom 1977, Co-Chair of the Faculty Advisory Board, and Ernst & Young’s Managing Partner for Western Canada. To date, more than $28 million has been raised from alumni and the business community to support the project.

UBC President Stephen Toope offered his congratulations to everyone involved in this project, noting that “the Sauder School and the Robert H. Lee Graduate School now have world-class facilities worthy of their stellar reputations, moving from strength to strength as the schools continue to make a difference in our world.”

“The school opened doors, and opened worlds, for me,” noted Withers, adding, “today, the world feels much bigger and there are many more doors. We had a vision to be the best we could be, and over the last few years we have revitalized the faculty, implemented broad-based admissions, added new programs, and attracted great students. And now, we have the final ingredient to the recipe to be the best. This new learning environment will help the faculty open new doors, and new worlds, for the students of today and tomorrow—so they have even better opportunities than we did.”

“We are incredibly proud of the Sauder community—our alumni and friends, students, faculty, and staff—and the extended business community, for having transformed this collective vision into reality,” said Dean Daniel Muzyka. “Thanks to their support, we now have a facility that represents the excellence of the business school and the community associated with it.”

Highlights of Phase One of the Sauder revitalization project

  • A new facility for the Robert H. Lee Graduate School, including classrooms, conference rooms, offices, lounge space, and a patio
  • The Bruce R. Birmingham Commerce Undergraduate Centre, which features group and individual study spaces, classrooms, meeting rooms, and breakout rooms for small-group work and interviews
  • The Jim Pattison Leadership Centre, which features two new lecture theatres, conference rooms, and lounge spaces
  • The Middlefield Group Lecture Theatre, which will accommodate close to 300 students in a large, state-of-the-art space, with attached conference rooms
  • The new Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre, located at the main entrance, which will strengthen the crucial link between students and the business community
  • The K.T. Tjia & Anna Chia Atrium that connects the old building with the new spaces and creates a bright and welcoming atmosphere
  • Additional classrooms and spaces designed and equipped for distance learning and videoconferencing
  • A new café and store
  • Creation of open and flexible spaces for students to network, study and congregate in a comfortable environment

Phase Two

Phase two of the $85 million revitalization project will include the Canaccord Learning Commons, a new 7,500 square foot Conference Centre supported by Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, new space for the PhD and MSc students, new computer and research labs, as well as the reconfiguration and extensive overhaul of the remaining sections of the Henry Angus and E.D. McPhee Buildings, built between 1965 and 1975.

The school’s new home will be a true reflection of its leadership within the local, national, and international business community, and a place for students, faculty members, staff, alumni and the business community to enjoy with pride. To date, $8 million has been raised in support of phase two of the project, but alumni and community support remains critical.

First printed in Viewpoints, Spring 2010, vol. 30. No. 1