News Release: From: State Rep. Trent Van Haaften (D-Mount Vernon) $36.5 MILLION USI CLASSROOM BUILDING GETS STATE APPROVAL INDIANAPOLIS – Final approval has been secured to enable the University of Southern Indiana (USI) to proceed with construction of a $36.5 million College of Business. At a Statehouse meeting today, members of the State Budget Committee granted USI the authority to proceed with the project, which also will house general classroom, laboratory and administrative space. Present plans call for construction to begin this summer, with the facility to be opened in 2010. “The facility will be shared by the College of Business and the university’s engineering program,” Van Haaften said. “The classrooms and labs will be used to support the engineering program and proposed advanced manufacturing and business and engineering degree programs.” The multi-story building will be located between the Liberal Arts Center and the Technology Center on the Evansville campus. Temporary buildings currently located on that site will be removed. “As USI continues to be a partner to area business, industry and educational institutions in meeting workforce needs and helping to foster an environment that assists in economic expansion, there have been huge increases in the numbers of students who wish to pursue degrees in business and engineering,” Van Haaften said. “As a result, there is a great need to expand facilities to make sure there is space sufficient to meet their needs.” In addition, Van Haaften said many students pursuing degrees in other programs also choose to take general business courses. “The Robert D. Orr Center has served as the home for the College of Business, but that facility is not equipped to handle the needs of a contemporary business school,” he said. “Rapidly evolving technologies in instruction have contributed significantly to need for a completely new facility.” The facility will include specialized classrooms that provide computer and Internet access, lecture halls that come equipped with learning-related technology, specialized laboratories and instructional space, student study areas and community resource centers that engage in business and economic research, as well as development of entrepreneurship and small business programs. “All of these changes are coming because of the consistent growth in student enrollment at USI, and the particular interest that has been taken in business and engineering programs,” Van Haaften said. “There have been double-digit increases in enrollment in both areas. That is particularly noteworthy in the engineering program, which started in 2002 and grew to nearly 300 students in only five years. “The fact that these announcements are taking place on a regular basis are a tribute to a student body that has set a standard of excellence, a faculty that has generated world-wide attention and quality administrators like President Ray Hoops and Vice President for Governmental Relations Cindy Brinker, who have made sure that USI gets the attention it deserves from state government,” he concluded.