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RU Breaks Ground for New COBE Building, Announces Key Leadership Gift

RADFORD -- To begin a weekend of Centennial Commencement activities, hundreds gathered on a hillside overlooking the Radford University campus on Thursday as the university broke ground on a new $44 million, 110,000-square-foot home for the College of Business and Economics (COBE).

“This new building will make a very bold, very confident statement about what the world can expect from Radford University and the Radford University College of Business and Economics,” said President Penelope W. Kyle.

(See a video clip of Thursday's ground-breaking ceremonies.)

Located at the corner of Jefferson Street and Tyler Avenue, the new signature building will also redefine the gateway to campus.

“Visitors will see a beautiful, traditional, but modern building that makes the right kind of statement about a university that is on the move,” said Thomas E. Fraim, rector of RU’s Board of Visitors.

Pictured, left to right, with shovels are: Rector of the RU Board of Visitors Thomas E. Fraim, President Penelope W. Kyle, COBE Dean Faye W. Gilbert, Harriet B. Price, Tyler Price, and Jeffrey M. Price.

During the ceremony, Kyle announced a leadership gift from Jeff and Harriet Price, co-owners of Radford-based Price-Williams Realty, which is helping RU meet this goal. The Prices’ generosity will also enable RU to meet the matching provisions of a grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation.

Jeff Price ’86 currently serves on RU’s COBE Advisory Board and the President’s Advisory Council. Price has also served on Radford University’s Business Industry Council and the Athletic Advisory Board.

“I am excited to be part of the construction of this flagship building and to help a project of this magnitude,” said Jeff Price. “RU has been good to us and this gift is our way of giving back what RU has given us. I stepped up now to energize other people to invest in the building and join me in watching RU, its faculty and students succeed.”

In recognition of the Prices’ generosity, the building’s third-floor grand hall and atrium will be named “The Jeffrey M. Price, Harriet B. Price and Family Grand Hall and Atrium.”

The new COBE home will include auditorium-style classrooms, conference rooms, and gathering spaces designed to stimulate collaboration and teamwork. It will also feature the latest in educational technology and financial research capabilities, including a “trading room.”

“Our new building…is called a ‘transitional design,’” said COBE Dean Faye W. Gilbert. “We consciously wanted the building to incorporate RU’s traditions and at the same time convey the impression that this is a university that is moving forward. Each room and space in the new building will accommodate the latest technology and enhance our ability to reach out and develop the distinctive connections that come from ‘teaching in person.’”

In addition, in keeping with RU’s commitment to sustainability, the entire complex is being constructed with the goal of achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation; however, a minimum designation of Silver is assured.

Construction will begin immediately on the south edge of the RU campus. The planned completion date is fall 2012 when COBE faculty, staff, and students will move out of their current home in Whitt Hall.

Glave & Holmes and Ayers/Saint/Gross comprise the architectural team working on the building’s design and Whiting-Turner is the construction contractor.

COBE Building: An artist’s rendering of the new home for the College of Business and Economics.

May 6, 2010
Don Bowman (dbowman@radford.edu; 540-831-7523)

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