Ken Eastman arrived at work bright and early Tuesday morning.
Eastman provided the bright, breaking out his special-occasion orange suit – which screams America’s Brightest Orange – to commemorate the first day of classes in the new Business Building.
Soon came the news of the day: “Open for Business.”
“The first day deserves the big orange suit,” said Eastman, dean of Spears Business.
The long-anticipated opening of the new building arrived Tuesday with the beginning of the 2018 spring semester. And it opened with one 7:30 a.m. class – managerial accounting – taught by Julie Ward amid a group of students who can lay claim to being the first class to meet in the state-of-the-art structure that features 147,450 square feet designed to accommodate classrooms, offices, student gathering space and more.
“You have the honor and privilege of being the first class in the new building,” Ward told her students. “We’re making a moment.”
The $72 million building will house 161 classes involving 3,443 students this semester. Nearly 50 percent larger than the old building, which has served OSU for 51 years, the new structure features 13 classrooms, four labs, 150 offices, 12 team rooms and 11 conference rooms. It also features enhanced technology throughout, as well as designs and furnishings aimed at the student experience, through input from students.
“I came in and I was like, ‘Wowww,’” said agribusiness major Elaina Moore, from Stillwater. “It was really welcoming to come in and see it.
“Definitely a step up.”
Ward appreciated the new surroundings as well.
“The layout of the classrooms is great,” she said. “It allows more people to sit up closer to the front and be more engaged. One thing I am looking forward to is the ability to put more than one thing up on a screen at the same time; to be able to have a PowerPoint up, and still work out a problem by hand. Now we can do that.”
Eastman greeted and welcomed every student in place for the initial class. He stuck around, too, directing traffic as students arrived in search of classrooms later in the morning.
“This is a landmark day for the campus, but also for our students,” Eastman told that first class. “We use this term, and we don’t use it cavalier, ‘This is Our Home.’”
With the start of the semester delayed by Monday’s observance of Martin Luther King Day, the opening of the business building flipped to the Tuesday-Thursday class schedule.
“I knew we had to be pretty close to being the first class, being at 7:30 (a.m.) on the first day,” said Trey Reeves, an accounting major from Gans. “But I didn’t know it would be the only class.
“It is kind of cool. Got our picture taken and to be a part of the first class. Get to brag about it a little bit, I guess.”