Western Kentucky University Breaks Ground on New $74 Million Business Building

The new $74.4 million, 113,000-square-foot home of the Gordon Ford College of Business will offer virtual reality simulations, Bloomberg trading terminals, and other innovative features for students.
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Published on June 22, 2023
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  • Western Kentucky University broke ground in June on a $74.4 million building for its Gordon Ford College of Business.
  • The new facility will feature Bloomberg trading terminals, a virtual reality lab, and more.
  • School officials say the space will also serve as a proving ground for business partnerships to offer students real-world experience.
  • The new facility is being built with state funding.

Western Kentucky University broke ground on a $74.4 million business school facility earlier this month that school officials say will both accelerate student success and boost the local economy.

The new 113,000-square-foot home for the Gordon Ford College of Business (GFCB) will feature a swath of new features for students. A virtual reality lab, Bloomberg terminals, student success center, and financial success center are all included in the monumental, Georgian-style facility, which is slated to be completed in the fall of 2025.

The innovative facility won't just help students, though: Western Kentucky University President Timothy C. Caboni said in a press release that the building will also serve as a spark for partnerships with the region's businesses.

"Fostering additional partnerships with regional business leaders, this space increases our role in the development of the business community and workforce by offering training and credentialing opportunities and spaces intentionally created to further networking and job placement opportunities for our students," Caboni said in the release.

The project is funded with $74.4 million approved by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2022. Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said in the release that the new facility marks the first state-funded building at Western Kentucky University since 2014.

"As we build on our historic economic momentum in Kentucky, we all acknowledge that investments like this are necessary," Coleman said.

Enrollment has been on the rise at the Gordon Ford College of Business in recent years, according to the release. Gordon Ford Dean Christopher Shook underscored the importance of the facility to first-generation students.

"As a first-generation college student, I know college transforms a person's life," Shook said in the release. "At GFCB, we are in the business of changing students' lives, and in doing so, we change our community and our state. This groundbreaking represents the beginning of more lives changed."

Western Kentucky University's new facility marks the latest in a series of major business school investments to kick off this year.

Purdue University announced earlier this year that it would expand its business school, thanks to a $50 million gift from the White Family Foundation. And entrepreneur and philanthropist Ross Stevens donated $100 million to the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business for its doctoral program earlier this year to celebrate the program's 100th anniversary.