Looking ahead to Knight and Bauer Halls

Dennis Rim | Student Life

Olin Business School

Bauer Hall’s exterior, as it will appear from Mudd Field.

When school started last August, students would peer into the gap between McMillan Hall and the Knight Executive Center to get a glimpse of a monstrous hole in the ground. By winter break, that hole was filled with a large skeleton of iron beams. Today, that structure is starting to resemble an actual building—and a magnificent one at that. What is this latest addition to campus?

This new structure will actually be two new buildings, Bauer Hall and Knight Hall (not to be confused with the Knight Center right next door). These buildings will be an expansion of the Olin Business School, which was recently ranked No. 4 overall in the Best Undergraduate Business Schools ranking published by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Knight Hall is named for Charles and Joanne Knight and Bauer Hall for George and Carol Bauer, who pledged lead gifts totaling $25 million for the new buildings. The entire project has a budget of $90 million, which includes the two buildings and a glass atrium that unites the two buildings, which will total 175,000 square feet on five levels. The two new buildings will contain seven classrooms, an auditorium, 75 faculty offices, a cafe, 18 group meeting spaces and much more.

An early press release suggested that solely the graduate business programs and related faculty and offices will be moving into Knight and Bauer Halls. However, according to Brian Bannister, associate dean for finance and administration in the business school, both undergraduate and graduate students will be taking classes in the new halls as well as in Simon Hall. Half of the faculty in the business school will be moving to the new buildings, so most students will be going to both sides of Mudd Field, whether it be for class, group meetings or talks with professors. “Undergraduates and graduates alike will carry out activities between the ‘campus’ inclusive of Simon Hall, the Knight Center, and the two new buildings,” wrote Harry Bolson, who is the undergraduate student representative for the Building Advisory Committee for Bauer and Knight Halls.

There is a strong atmosphere of positivity for the new buildings within the business school. Kurt Dirks, senior associate dean of programs, said, “Everyone here in Olin is very excited about Knight and Bauer Halls. There’s even going to be a [Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration] formal that will celebrate the construction of these buildings.”

Olin Business School

The new Olin Business School complex will feature a large, built-in seating area in the first floor atrium

Ian Lever, a freshman in the business school, added, “I’m excited for the three-floor glass atrium more than anything. The campus looks great right now with its old collegiate feel, but a touch of modernity might be a nice change. It’s going to look awesome at night with the light shining through it.”

Knight and Bauer Hall are being built in the spot of the old Eliot Hall, which housed the Departments of Economics and Political Science within the College of Arts & Sciences. Students celebrated the plans to demolish Eliot.

In an earlier Student Life article, then-senior Daniel Bernard rejoiced, saying, “It’s wonderful that Olin is expanding on campus and tearing down the ugly eyesore of Eliot Hall.” Eliot, built in 1974, was a Brutalist-style, concrete-poured building. By the time of its destruction, it was one of the last buildings of its design on campus. The Mallinckrodt Center and Bryan Hall are the last remnants today. On the other hand, Peter Birke, a current senior, defended Eliot in an article for the Washington University Political Review because of the fact that it stood out from the rest of campus.

Nonetheless, we can expect Knight and Bauer Hall to be a beautiful addition to the campus. These two buildings will essentially double the physical size of the business school, which is right now contained entirely in Simon Hall and the Knight Center.

“From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday, you cannot find a single empty classroom in Simon. You have undergraduate classes, graduate classes, group meetings, case competitions going on at the same time. With two new buildings, we hope it won’t be as hectic,” Dirks said.

Knight and Bauer will also be open to students and faculty of all schools. The atrium will hopefully be a place of congregation not just for Olin students. For any further information and a virtual tour of the new buildings, visit buildolin.wustl.edu. The grand opening of the halls is expected in March 2014.