TIFFIN - A historic Heidelberg University building will be remodeled into a state-of-the-art business school.
The exterior of the nearly 100-year-old Laird Hall of Science will be preserved, but the interior will be transformed into the new home for the university's business school beginning with the 2010-11 school year.
The transformation will preserve tradition while spawning a 21st-century feel, said Jim Troha, Heidelberg's vice president for institutional advancement and university relations.
Construction on Adams Hall, as it will be known, is scheduled to begin Nov. 2.
Work is scheduled to be completed in July with classes beginning there next fall.
The building is named for Heidelberg alumnus and trustee John Q. Adams, who donated $2 million toward the $4 million project. An additional $1 million is being raised for an endowment.
The three-story Adams Hall will include a video conference center, six multimedia classrooms, computer labs, and a student lounge.
The construction of Gillmor Hall and renovation of Bareis Hall moved the sciences out of Laird, and it has been empty while Heidelberg studied future uses.
Andrew Weiss, head of the university's school of business, said it's perfect for the business program, which is now in Aigler Alumni Building, a former elementary school.
"Aigler has certainly served us well, but it's not a state-of-the art facility," he said.
"The new Adams Hall will provide us with technology, up-to-date classrooms, and a location that is much more central on campus."
He described Laird as a "lovely building" that complements campus architecture. Remodeling the interior provided an opportunity to preserve history and meet students' needs.
"Colleges are unique," he said. "We're very traditional, but at the same time we're on the cutting edge of knowledge."
University leaders said the metamorphosis will jump-start other initiatives the business school is eyeing, including integrating the undergraduate and MBA programs, creating interdisciplinary programs that combine business with other studies, expanding internship opportunities, and bringing business leaders to campus to share their expertise with students.
Inquiries about the business program abound, and its majors run a close second to education majors, Mr. Troha said.