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New Lehigh University Building to Emphasize Experiential, Immersive Learning

Pennsylvania's Lehigh University recently broke ground on a new building for its College of Business. Designed by Voith & Mactavish Architects, LLP (VMA), the 74,000-square-foot structure is slated to open in fall 2022 and will contain 16 experiential learning spaces, including a business incubator, a mock trading floor, data analytics rooms, a production studio, a corporate-style conference center, and an executive education suite.

“New findings in pedagogy show that students learn best when they are engaged in discovering solutions for open-ended, real-world problems,” said Sennah Loftus, associate principal at VMA and the project’s lead designer. “With spaces like the business incubator and mock trading floor, we are creating places where professors can inspire students to test, explore and discover.”

Lehigh University College of Business

Each classroom will be fully integrated with modern technology to allow for hybrid and online learning, as appropriate. The building also features informal meeting and study areas to encourage communication and collaboration. “We are moving beyond the traditional classroom arrangement, where the professor stands and talks and the students sit there passively taking notes, to more immersive learning environments that engage students as partners in their education,” said Georgette Chapman Phillips, dean of the College of Business.

The new facility will replace a parking lot and two administrative buildings to stand diagonally to the existing Rauch Business Center. A press release stated that it will serve as an anchor in the area that unifies the campus and makes it more cohesive. “I think this is really going to help knit together the College of Business, Rauch Business Center and Zoellner Arts Center, pulling those into a more coherent campus experience,” said Brent Stringfellow, university architect and associate vice president of facilities.

Construction was originally supposed to start in 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].

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