McCombs To Get New $172 Million Building

An artist's rendering of Rowling Hall at the University of Texas

An artist’s rendering of Rowling Hall at the University of Texas

And the business school building wars continue.

The University of Texas today (May 15) approved plans for a new $172 million home for its McCombs School of Business. The new 458,000-square-foot building, to be named Robert B. Rowling Hall, will allow the school’s MBAs to no longer share facilities with the 4,000 undergraduate business students at the university.

The vote by the university’s Board of Regents will also double the space available for Texas Executive Education programs and, in conjunction with the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, increase the convention and conference activities at the university.

The building will be on the corner of Guadalupe Street and East MLK Jr. Blvd., across from the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, providing what the university termed “a new and iconic gateway to campus.” The project will also provide additional on-campus parking. Construction will begin in the fall of 2014 and is expected to be completed in early 2017.


The new building is part of a building boom among business schools. Yale School of Management opened their new $243 million facility in January of this year, while the Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management broke ground on a new $220 million “global hub” last November. Columbia Business School is also in the midst of building a new campus with a $600 million price tag. It is not expected to open until early 2018.

“Teaching and learning in Rowling Hall will match the diversity and resourcefulness of today’s most progressive organizations,” said Thomas Gilligan, dean of the McCombs School. “Our graduates move into leadership roles within innovative workforces around the world, and our entire program, from faculty to curriculum and facilities, prepares them for that environment.”

The building design enables flexible teaching approaches such as “flipped classrooms,” in which students and teachers seamlessly move from lectures to team collaboration. Rowling Hall will also expand classroom availability allowing additional course offerings and provide many spaces for individual study and group preparation.


“Rowling Hall will serve as a hub for graduate students to meet with peers, faculty, recruiters and members of the business community to openly exchange ideas, network and work in teams, just as they will in the business world,” said Gilligan. “Their education is an extension of their career, and they spend 60-plus hours a week at the school,” he said. “Graduate students need team workrooms, technology tools and an environment that promotes professionalism, whether preparing for a crucial presentation or meeting a corporate recruiter.”

Rowling Hall will enable executive education to keep pace with a program that has doubled in size during the past five years.

Some $58.25 million of the building’s projected cost of $172 million is being raised through corporate and individual gifts. Robert Rowling, BBA ’76, and his wife Terry Hennersdorf Rowling, BBA ’76, and their family gave the initial gift of $25 million toward the new building.“Rowling Hall will be transformative for our program, as was the AT&T Executive Education Center when it opened in 2008,” said Gaylen Paulson, associate dean and executive director of Texas Executive Education. “This flexible, cutting-edge learning environment will enable us to continue to expand and evolve our programs, impacting leading executives and organizations from around the world.”

Rowling Hall was designed by Ennead Architects and Jacobs Engineering. DPR is the construction manager for the project.

About the Author...

John A. Byrne

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.