Building for the future

Woodbury University staff raises $26 million to help fund construction of two new school facilities and a 350-space parking structure.

January 19, 2008|By Rachel Kane

Construction projects and fundraising efforts for a $27-million expansion at Woodbury University are expected to be completed in the next two months.

Through a more than two-year campaign, staffers in the university’s advancement office have raised roughly $26 million for the construction of two new buildings on campus.

In August 2006, construction began on new school of architecture and school of business buildings as well as a 350-space parking lot on the campus’ upper level.


So far, everything is ahead of schedule, said Richard Nordin, vice president of University Advancement.

“The buildings are ahead of schedule and under budget,” Nordin said. “So those are always good things when people see big construction projects.”

A more than 60% increase in growth over the past seven years was the original impetus for the new buildings, he said.

Architecture students in the five-year program will move into new, larger studio spaces, classrooms and computer labs by the fall, when both buildings are scheduled for completion.

The architecture building will be two stories and 15,000 square feet.

And while the architecture program needs a new building because the program is growing, there is more to the business program’s new digs.

Their new building is also part of a bid for the college to receive a new accreditation — one Nordin called the “gold standard” for that area of study.

“We want to move into the group that includes USC, UCLA and the Berkeleys of the state,” he said.

Most California State universities and University of California schools’ business programs are accredited by the Assn. to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the program Woodbury University is applying to.

The business program’s building will feature traditional classroom spaces, new computer labs and administrative and faculty offices in a two-story, 22,000-square-foot structure.

A new auditorium-style classroom will also be built in the new business building to accommodate up to 150 students, something the university has not had on campus in at least five years, he said.

“Both architecture and business are important, but this building is one of the critical points of quality enhancement of the business school, which is one of our oldest points,” he said.

Woodbury University originally began as a business school, he said.

The curriculum will also be changed to reflect the new standards of the accreditation the school is applying for, but the most visible change will be to the campus’ landscape, he said.

Over the past eight years, and until construction ends on the new business building, students of the program have not had their own facilities, said Andre van Niekerk, dean of the business school.

“Classes have always been taught around campus, and in recent years there was an area of the university that was designated as kind of our home, but it was never big enough to accommodate all the faculty or to teach all of the classes,” van Niekerk said. “This gives us a home.”

?RACHEL KANE covers education. She may be reached at (818) 637-3205 or by e-mail at

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