Dedication of University of Saint Francis business school in downtown Fort Wayne planned

June 13th, 2016

News Coverage:

June 9, 2016

Dedication of University of Saint Francis business school in downtown Fort Wayne planned

Emphasis will be on business and the business of music

Bob Caylor and Lisa M. Esquivel Long | News-Sentinel

With a few months to go, work continues on the University of Saint Francis’ downtown campus at the former Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and Scottish Rite Center buildings.

In January, school officials provided reporters and photographers with a look at the progress of the $12.3 million project. The work is scheduled to be finished this summer so that students in the business school, music technology and media entrepreneurship training in the arts programs can begin classes there in the fall semester.

The university has set a dedication event for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 16 with Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend on Ewing Street in front of the former chamber building, which the university refers to as the “Business Center,” said Trois Hart, USF associate vice president of marketing. About an hour after the public is invited to tour both buildings.

The public can also get a look inside one of the buildings Sept. 9 and 10 during the West Central Home and Garden Tour and Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown.
Begun in May 2015, which marked the university’s 125th anniversary year, the renovation of the former chamber building, 826 Ewing St., started with demolition of a ceremonial wall that included Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss.

The university bought the nearly 90-year-old building in 2012. It will be home to the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership, which will move from the main campus, 2701 Spring St., as well as USF’s new project-based learning program, Media Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts.

Plans call for a finance lab, seven classrooms, collaborative and study spaces, a food bar, cyber lounge, offices and conference rooms.Robert Lee, dean of the university’s Keith Busse School, previously told The News-Sentinel that the finance lab will be designed “to mimic the flavor of a trading floor” with a ticker along the ceiling.

Meanwhile, the media program space will be “oriented to millennials,” Lee has said of the design for those born after 1980. “There are flat-screen TVs on the wall and movable partitions. It’s kind of a relaxed atmosphere.”

The media program enables students to work in small groups, focusing on solving real challenges and using arts expertise to develop solutions for small businesses and nonprofits, such as Artlink, Community Harvest Food Bank and the Allen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The former Scottish Rite building, 431 W Berry St., now the USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, has a 2,000-seat auditorium. Renovation plans call for recording and teaching studios, mixing and editing rooms, practice rooms, rehearsal rooms, a music library, classrooms and other space. The building will be home to USF’s Music Technology program, as well as its new dance program created in cooperation with the Fort Wayne Ballet Conservatory.

Ballroom renovations were completed earlier this year. The space has already been used for wedding receptions. The next goal is to have classroom space renovations done in the first week of July. After that, it plans to have renovations of the Woman’s Club in September.

The fall semester begins Aug. 29.

In the meantime, USF is settling into the West Central neighborhood, with plans to give a presentation at the June 20 association meeting.

“We’re a new member of the neighborhood,” Hart said.