West Bank’s Hanson Hall has grand opening

The laptop program at the Carlson School of Management offers incoming students discounts on computers that can be serviced in the new Hanson Hall. Approximately 50 percent of current freshman took part in the program this semester.

Paul Bangasser

The laptop program at the Carlson School of Management offers incoming students discounts on computers that can be serviced in the new Hanson Hall. Approximately 50 percent of current freshman took part in the program this semester.

West Bank students have likely seen it, and business students probably have a class there already. Hanson Hall, a state-of-the-art building that was more than three years in the making, opened its doors to students this fall, but the official grand opening celebration is scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. in the atrium. The new building, connected via skyway to the Carlson School of Management, occupies a space of 129,000 square feet and will serve as home to the schoolâÄôs office of undergraduate programs. The economics department relocated to Hanson Hall from Heller Hall in May. The building is named after Herbert Hanson, a Carlson school graduate who donated $10 million to the school in 2004. The state Legislature appropriated $26.6 million for construction of the building . The total cost, including the skyway, was $47.9 million. From the outset, Hanson Hall was designed with technology in mind. The basement is home to the Best Buy Learning Lab, where laptops can be stored and charged in lockers, and students can use desktop computers for printing. Next to the lab is a laptop repair center with a same-day turnaround of four hours. Management information systems senior Joe Keys said the better technology at Hanson Hall will be a great help to students who need to bring their laptops to class every day. âÄúIt really increases our versatility,âÄù Keys said. âÄúThatâÄôs very important.âÄù An expanded Business Career Center serves both undergraduate and graduate students, outfitted with several interview rooms and a meeting lounge. Carlson school Dean Alison Davis-Blake said the career center âÄúwill allow undergraduate students more opportunities to build meaningful connections with their fellow students and with recruiters.âÄù Davis-Blake said there are four 120-seat and five 75-seat classrooms in the building. Since theyâÄôre so large, she said, they will mainly be used to accommodate core classes and other lectures with large attendances. In addition to leading the 2004 fundraising drive for Hanson Hall, Davis-Blake was responsible for curriculum changes to the undergraduate programs that began in conjunction with the buildingâÄôs opening this semester. Some of the new requirements, Davis-Blake said, include a first-year contemporary management course, a sophomore immersion core of four business courses and a study abroad requirement for all incoming first-year students. âÄúWeâÄôve updated our whole program in order to offer our students the premier program in the country,âÄù Davis-Blake said. Many corporate benefactors also contributed money to the construction of the building. Bill Van Dyke, chairman of the Carlson School Board of Overseers , one of the benefactors, said the transformation of the West Bank campus over the past 30 years is âÄúhard to imagine.âÄù âÄúI would guess a number of the people who made personal contributions did so because theyâÄôre graduates of the school,âÄù Van Dyke said.