Home » WKU unveils plans for new Gordon Ford College of Business building

WKU unveils plans for new Gordon Ford College of Business building

An exterior rendering of the WLU Gordon Ford College of Business building that breaks ground this summer and will be complete in fall 2025.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Western Kentucky University unveiled plans today for a new state-of-the-art building to house the Gordon Ford College of Business, a 113,000-s.f. structure that will transform undergraduate and graduate business education in the region and fulfill an important component of WKU’s 2021-2031 Campus Master Plan.

“As we continue our important work of transforming lives and elevating our communities through education, we remain committed to ensuring our facilities promote the exchange of ideas, foster innovation and provide resources that enable our students to excel in their chosen disciplines,” President Timothy C. Caboni said.

The renderings were revealed this morning during the Board of Regents committee meetings. The Collegiate Georgian-style facility will be built on the site formerly occupied by Tate Page Hall. “This innovative building celebrates the nearly 150-year history of business education in our region, while also marking an exciting new chapter for our beloved university,” President Caboni said.

WKU’s association with business instruction in the region dates back to 1874 with the establishment of the Bowling Green Business University (BU). In 1963, WKU integrated the business programs of BU into its College of Business, later named to honor the generosity of former BU student Gordon B. Ford.

The project is made possible by the Kentucky General Assembly. As part of House Bill 1, in April 2022 legislators approved funding for a new Gordon Ford College of Business, providing $74.4 million from the state under the 2022-24 budget.

A Steering Committee, led by Gordon Ford College of Business Dean Christopher Shook, has been working with the architects of Gensler (Chicago) to design a space that will elevate business education at WKU. Gensler (Chicago) visited campus and met with key stakeholders, including GFCB faculty, staff, and students, as well as other members of the WKU Community to gather feedback and solicit ideas.

“Through immersive on campus research, engaging with faculty, staff and students through visioning workshops, interviews and conversations, the design team gleaned key insights that informed the design of the new building,” Gensler Senior Associate Janette Scott said. “These range from designing spaces that support interactions between students and faculty, both inside and outside of a typical faculty office, to technology rich classrooms that provide flexibility and adaptability to facilitate new ways of teaching and learning. This project is a testament to the university’s commitment to providing the best possible experience for students, faculty, and staff while supporting their strategic vision.”

The new Gordon Ford College of Business will have a modern, flexible, open-space interior that supports active learning, academic innovation, curriculum enhancement, and a strong community. The spaces will more uniformly serve the needs of students, elevate the teaching and research of the faculty and staff, and support GFCB’s ongoing enrollment growth.

“We are seeing tremendous growth across GFCB and that can be attributed to our cutting-edge curriculum and the tremendous work of our faculty and staff,” Dr. Shook said. “They do a fantastic job engaging with students and ensuring they are academically and professionally prepared for life after college. The spaces in the new building will only help us enhance our teaching pedagogies and engagement opportunities with students, the regional business community, and alumni.”

Construction of Grise Hall began in 1964, and it has served as the home for all WKU business classes since its dedication in 1967. To honor the generosity of Gordon B. Ford, the college was renamed the Gordon Ford College of Business in December 1998, becoming the second named business school in Kentucky.

The project is scheduled to break ground this summer and be completed in the fall of 2025. View the latest renderings at www.wku.edu/businesscollege.

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