The Aldrich hallways during class changes have occasionally been referred to as “cattle chutes,” with the massive numbers of students leaving class and swarming in the few open areas. By next spring, much of that will change with the opening of Hawes Hall, HBS’ largest investment in classroom space since Aldrich was built in the early 1950s. Hawes will feature four 92-seat and four 68-seat classrooms with the latest technology and significant advancements over the rooms in Aldrich.
Construction on the 3-story building began in late 2000, and progress has been quick, according to Frank Hayes, HBS’ Deputy Chief of Operations, a member of the committee who oversees the project for the school. Between 50 and 75 workers are on site on a given day for the approximately $20 million project. More will be required to finish the interior in the coming months.
The building is named in honor of Rod and Beverly Hawes. Rod Hawes was a Baker Scholar graduate of the Class of 1969 who retired in 1998 as Chairman and CEO of Life Re Corporation of Hartford, CT. The Haweses are philanthropists who are active in the Mormon Church and major donors to the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University, as well as several humanitarian causes.
Deputy Chief Hayes gave The Harbus an advance hard-hat tour of the building, pointing out several of the features of the new building. First impressions focus on the wide hallways, which Hayes says were designed to allow students space to congregate, alleviating the congestion of Aldrich. Student lounge areas are planned in the building, with wireless Ethernet access throughout the building, including inside the classrooms. Even the Aldrich restroom confusion has been corrected-the men’s and women’s restrooms are in the same place on every floor.
The use of different-sized classrooms is a first for HBS, where classes of all sizes meet in 90- to 100-seat rooms. But many EC and Executive Education classes have only half that number of students. The different size classrooms will “fill out the inventory,” Hayes said. They will also give officials the chance to take one or two Aldrich classrooms out of circulation during the school year for sorely needed renovations.
Inside the classroom, the tried-and-true multi-level horseshoe format remains. The large classrooms will have five levels, the smaller four. The side chalkboards will be 7′-6″ wide and have three levels, rather than the 6′ Aldrich stationary boards. The student chairs will be on wheels, like those in Aldrich 112. Finally, there will be not one, but two LCD projectors and screens in each room, providing HBS professors more ways to be confused by the electronics, but also leaving plenty of chalkboard space available during a presentation.
“All of these changes will combine to provide ultimate flexibility as far as pedagogy is concerned,” Hayes said.
One notable feature of the building is all of the windows. At least some of them are designed to let natural light into some classrooms-something that the Aldrich designers clearly fought against. As such, blackout shades will be available for professors to keep students from staring outside during class.
In addition, the building will fully comply with all Americans with Disability Act standards. This will be apparent in ramps that provide wheelchair access to the front and back of every room, handicap-accessible restrooms, and larger elevators.
While the HBS tunnel system will not be expanded to Hawes and beyond, the building will be accessible from every level of Aldrich. Both a stairway and an elevator will connect the Aldrich floors, which are offset by 1/2 story, to the Hawes floors, at the point where the two buildings connect. There will also be additional access to Burden and Spangler from the east side of the building via a walkway, providing better access from Spangler to the entire north end of campus.
Hayes expects most of the construction to be complete by mid-March, and faculty will have a chance to do a few test-runs in the classroom before scheduled instruction begins in April. The Class of 2003 will be the first MBA students to benefit from the new building next fall.
Outside of Hawes, in the new quadrangle created with Aldrich and Baker, a separate construction project, a new courtyard donated by the Class of 1971 is also taking shape. It will be an oval path with a large green area in the middle. At the center entrance to Aldrich, there will be a stone and brick patterned area that will include a plaque to the donors. The courtyard will be finished about the time Hawes opens.