Haas plans $70 million expansion

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The UC Berkeley Haas School of Business is planning a multi-million dollar expansion, which would provide for the construction of a new building and possibly allow for the growth of the school’s MBA program.

The building project — which would allow for new classrooms and learning, among other possibilities — is expected to cost $50 million, according to Michelle McClellan, assistant dean of development and alumni relations for the business school and the top fundraiser for the project. Proposed renovations and enhancement to the business school’s library courtyard and space would cost an additional $20 million, according to McClellan.

“Haas had undertaken a master space planning project several years back, and this was eventually the outburst of that,” McClellan said. “It’s been a process that has evolved over time.”

Fundraising began in January 2011, according to McClellan, who could not give a timeline for when the project would be completed. She said $25 million has been pledged thus far from “alumni and friends,” including some significant donors.

The pledges to the Haas expansion are currently verbal, so the names of the donors cannot be released yet, said Ute Frey, associate director of marketing and communications at the business school, in an email.

Residential and Student Service Programs has been in discussions with the business school over the past six months regarding the expansion, said Marty Takimoto, director of marketing communications for the programs, in an email. The school has expressed interest in possibly relocating Girton Hall —  a building near the business school campus that currently hosts about 15 infants and toddlers of campus staff, students and faculty through an early childhood education program  — in order to build the proposed structure, according to Takimoto.

Takimoto said in the email that a move would necessitate the relocation of the current child care services program that takes place in Girton Hall and that Residential and Student Service Programs is researching temporary and permanent solutions for the program’s relocation.

While the expansion of the full-time MBA program at the business school is one of the possibilities being most deeply looked at, there are also other options, and nothing has been decided yet, McClellan said. Frey said the business school is constantly exploring options and figuring out how to stay competitive.

“I think it would be great if we expanded our MBA program. It’s very small relative to other MBA programs in the U.S. — one of the smallest in the country,” said Nancy Wallace, professor of real estate at the business school.

While Haas’ full-time MBA program enrolls about 240 students per year, similar programs at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School currently serve about 850 and 900 students in the class of 2013, respectively, according to the schools’ websites. At the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the current class has about 400 students.

While the campus is supportive of the expansion, it is not providing any of the funding, McClellan said. All three of the business school’s buildings — which were completed in 1995 — were donor-funded, according to Frey.

“We cannot break ground until we have all commitments,” McClellan said.

Betsy Vincent covers academics and administration.