GSB debuts Knight Center campus with open house today

April 29, 2011, 2:00 a.m.
(ANASTASIA YEE/The Stanford Daily)

One of the largest construction projects on campus this year, the Knight Management Center, officially opens today. The facility has been partially in use since January and fully operational since April 18, with an official open house and ceremony this afternoon.

The Knight Center, which is the new site for Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB), bears the name of Nike founder Phil Knight MBA ’62, who donated $105 million for the facility. The project cost $345 million in total.

According to a press release, GSB administrators hope it will house the “site for the business school for 75 to 100 years.” The old GSB campus, currently called the Littlefield Management Center, remains vacant with no final plans for its future use.

The construction of a new campus came as a result of 2007 changes in the MBA curriculum that called for smaller class sizes, necessitating smaller and more classrooms.  The new curriculum includes “more critical analytical thinking, a global experience requirement, more innovative thinking and more personal leadership development,” wrote GSB Dean Garth Saloner ’81 M.S. ’82 Ph.D. ’82 in an email to The Daily.

The new campus also houses rows of individual study rooms, workrooms and “breakout rooms” that faculty can use to divide up a class for group work. The Knight Center houses 70 such rooms, up from 28 in the old facility.

Several other aspects of the new facility differentiate it from the old GSB complex. Most noticeably, the Knight Center now sits on Campus Drive and Serra Street. One major hope the GSB administration has for the new facility is to make it a more open area to bring in members of all Stanford departments. The new campus was also oriented to give better views of the Stanford campus, especially from the Bass Center, which is the new business school library and the tallest building in the Knight Center.

“This is a place for the whole Stanford community,” said Knight Center Program Director Kathleen Kavanaugh.

The new center was also constructed with the goal of earning the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum level certification. The facility has not yet been awarded LEED platinum, but according to Kavanaugh it is still “on track” for this distinction.

To contend for this certification, the facility was designed to consume 45 percent less energy and 80 percent less water than a typical office building, in addition to producing an estimated 12.5 percent of its required energy from photovoltaic cells.   Kavanaugh said that green facilities were a priority for educational reasons as well, in hopes that students would carry environmental motivations into their careers.

“The GSB believes that the leaders of business are the people that can make change really happen,” she said. “By designing and building this facility with these green aspects in mind, we’re showing that we can design a green facility without compromising on design and functionality.”

“What’s important here is that the GSB practices what it teaches,” Saloner added. “Sustainability is good business.”

The center consists of eight new buildings around a main, central quadrangle and the Arbuckle Dining Pavilion. Another addition to the new campus includes a parking facility beneath two of the Knight Center’s eight buildings that opens onto Campus Drive.

The GSB community along with President John Hennessy and the Board of Trustees will officially dedicate the Knight Center in a ceremony from noon to 2 p.m. today. An open house for all of Stanford will follow until 5 p.m.


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