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Doors Open for Class in New Ross School Facility

1/16/2009 --

Students weigh in with thoughts and impressions.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—When Ross students returned from winter break in January 2009, they stepped into a new era, literally and figuratively. Classes are now in session in the 270,000-square-foot facility, which sets a new global standard for connecting the world of business education to business practice.

A random survey in early January revealed that Ross students appreciate the architectural and design features, new amenities and services, and the sustainable aspects of the structure.

The heart of the Ross School campus is the Davidson Winter Garden, a glass-enclosed public space surrounded by the Blau Auditorium, the Seigle Café, and several informal meeting spaces. There are 12 tiered, U-shaped discussion rooms with a capacity of 85 or more, and five classrooms each with a capacity of 40.

"The natural light and sightlines in the classrooms are certainly a huge improvement," says Eli Cohen, MBA '09. "I'm jealous of future MBAs who get to spend their whole two years in the building."

Dara Moses, MBA '09, says she was relieved the new, open setting lends itself to collaboration and maintains the sense of intimacy Ross students enjoyed in the previous space. "I was concerned that we would lose the feeling of closeness that we had in the old building but this has not been the case at all," she says. "It is incredible and brings new life to our last semester of classes."

Abby Hillyard, MBA '09, concurs. "The openness of the lobby facilitates networking and connecting with classmates and faculty," she says. "Classrooms are spacious with great acoustics and visuals."

But looks aren't everything. State-of-the-art wireless, data-ready seats, and fully loaded group study rooms enable students and faculty to interact with one another and with project sponsors and teams across the globe. Each classroom features three mounted and pre-set video cameras and one-touch Mediasite lecture-capture technology. Plasma screens hang in each group study room, and virtual queue technology allows students to print, scan, copy, and fax documents on demand.

"Besides having a great look, it gives us access to the best technologies available to enhance our learning experience," says Jose Robles, MBA '09.

Meanwhile, in keeping with the school's commitment to sustainable enterprise, the building was designed and built in accordance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, and much of the material used for the new structure --including concrete, drywall, and steel -- is recycled. High-efficiency lighting, heating, and cooling systems are in place. Green roofs, automatic faucets, and low-flush toilets address water management, consumption, and conservation.

"It is pretty remarkable to be in such a state-of-the-art building that has combined recycled materials with energy efficiency," says Erica Graham, MBA '09.

That attention to detail just comes with the program, adds BBA student Jennifer Miller. "A school that teaches sustainability should reflect it in the facilities, and the new building does that," she says.

Finally, one of the most novel features of the facility is a health and fitness center, equipped with free weights, strength and aerobics machines, and areas for stretching. Shower and towel service also are available. Facilities are open to full-time students, faculty, and staff for a fee.

"The gym is my favorite," says Hillyard. "I think it is the biggest 'buzz' among students. The convenience of having the fitness facility onsite will increase exercise among students and faculty and should boost energy levels and increase productivity. People leave the fitness center feeling better about themselves, which is better for all of us -- not just the person who worked out."

BBA student Samantha Kelman says the building offers more than she expected. "We are so fortunate to be learning in such an impressive facility. Between the classrooms, cafeteria, and fitness center, I'll never have to leave."

Visit the new building website to learn more and view the extensive photo gallery.

For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847,