March 6, 2017
Reporter's Notebook

UHart biz school eyes $5.2M expansion

Rendering | Contributed
Rendering | Contributed
A rendering of the trading lab the Barney School plans to build as part of a coming expansion.

The University of Hartford's Barney School of Business is closing in on a multi-million-dollar fundraising goal that would enable the largest expansion in its nearly 50-year history.

Plans call for a 10,000-square-foot addition to the school's Auerbach Hall headquarters, with amenities to include a financial lab with Bloomberg trading terminals, a new student commons area and cafe, and a professional development and career center.

"I think this will probably be the most transformational project for the business school since its inception," said Martin Roth, dean of the Barney School.

Roth said the project is entirely aimed at students. There are no new faculty or office spaces. And the goal is to remain competitive with area business schools, including UConn's.

Barney, which has approximately 600 undergraduates enrolled, up from 525 in 2013, when Roth was hired as dean, wants to increase recruitment of new students and better serve existing pupils.

"The higher-education market continues to become more and more competitive each year," Roth said. "We're seeing not only schools within our region but also outside very aggressively marketing to attract the really bright students here in the northeastern part of the U.S."

The entire project is expected to cost $5.2 million, and much of it will come from donors. Barney has raised approximately 70 percent of a $4.5 million fundraising goal.

Assuming it raises the remaining 30 percent, UHart would kick in approximately $700,000 of its own money.

UHart has been fundraising for the project since early last year, and the money raised so far has come in the form of larger gifts from area companies and alumni. Stanley Black & Decker's name will adorn the student commons area. Meanwhile, Barney will name the new career center after R.C. Knox, which is a part of People's United Insurance Agency. The new cafe will be named after Shelton-based manufacturer Hubbell Inc.

There are still $1.6 million in naming rights up for grabs at the business school, including for the trading lab. The school has widened its appeal to alums it hopes might want to support the project.

"Our goal is to complete the fundraising in 2017 … and if we are successful, we could begin actual physical work on the project in 2018," Roth said.

The project would take approximately 10 months, but Roth said classes wouldn't be disrupted.

– Matt Pilon

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