The innovative home of the Ithaca College School of Business, which opened its doors in spring 2008, is a top-to-bottom, real-world example of environmental stewardship that incorporates the highest principles of sustainable design and practice.
In fact, the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise was among the first 100 buildings in the world to receive platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the highest level granted by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is also the first of two buildings on campus with platinum status, as the Peggy Ryan Williams Center earned the designation in late 2010.
Situated in the center of the College campus, the Park Center's U-shaped seating areas, numerous collaborative breakout rooms, and small conference rooms allow students a home base to work and learn together in an atmosphere similar to the professional environment they will one day occupy.
A home to students
A striking four-story tall window enclosure dominates the Park Center’s design and allows natural light to flood into the structure. Throughout the day and evening, students gather in the airy, well-lit atrium — which spans parts of the first and second floors — to study and socialize at the tables, comfortable couches, and padded chairs placed in the space. Flat screen televisions mounted on the wall are tuned to national news channels, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee from the snack kiosk wafts through the air.
With plenty of outlets for laptops and phone chargers, students can stay plugged into their work and remain close to the state-of-the art technologies and classrooms the facility houses. The overall effect of the Park Center design is an environment that invites collaboration in every nook.
“From the time they enter Ithaca College we try to get across to our students that they are part of the School of Business community and the spaces provided by the building reinforce that sense of community,” says Mary Ellen Zuckerman, dean of the School of Business.
“Students participate in classes, clubs, meetings with professors, study groups, social events, and meals here in the building,” Zuckerman adds. “They see their professors and the School of Business staff in the stairway, at the café and in the halls, which fosters informal communication.”
A 21st-Century Business Learning Environment
One of the centerpieces of the business school is the Center for Trading and Analysis of Financial Instruments, which debuted in 1995. Informally known as the trading room, it has nearly doubled in size to 1,200 square feet and now features 44 workstations with double-screen monitors providing real-time access to security exchanges and other market data. Students and faculty like to boast that our financial ticker is ahead of the one displayed on CNN. The trading room is the facility of choice for a number of courses, including one in which students manage an actual financial portfolio with $100,000 of real capital, thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor.
In addition, budding executives can hone their corporate speaking skills in the 32-seat moot boardroom. With glorious views of Cayuga Lake and the surrounding hillsides of Tompkins County, the glass-enclosed New York Business School is a hi-tech venue for hosting debates or PowerPoint presentations. Students can also work together using the collaborative technology classroom's several laptop workstations and can build teamwork skills in the small-group breakout rooms scattered throughout the building.
At the Forefront
With a robust capacity for 21st-century technology, flexible spaces for creative learning, and innovative concepts for building community, the 38,000-square-foot Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise is a progressive building that fosters team skills, entrepreneurial spirit, and dynamic energy essential in today's workplace.