David Tepper donates $67 million
David A. Tepper’s charitable foundation recently gave Carnegie Mellon $67 million, the university’s largest-ever donation from a Carnegie Mellon graduate and the largest gift for a building project.
The university will use Tepper’s most recent donation to build the new Tepper Quadrangle, which will be located on the north side of campus, where the Morewood Parking lot currently exists. Tepper’s previous donation of $55 million in 2003 changed the name of the Graduate School of Industrial Administration to the Tepper School of Business.
According to the official university press release, the four-and-a-half-acre Tepper Quadrangle “will be designed to facilitate high levels of cross-campus collaboration and bring together interdisciplinary initiatives, including entrepreneurship and technology-enhanced learning.”
The university’s initial investment for the Tepper Quadrangle currently stands at $201 million. The first building on the Tepper Quadrangle will house the Tepper School of Business. Students in the school of business are excited by the prospect of the new space.
“I think that it’s a great way for Tepper to expand, and keep up its reputation as a highly ranked business school,” said Elissa Maercklein, a sophomore business administration student. “The new space will be good for Tepper.”
Some students are concerned that the new business school building planned for the Tepper Quadrangle is superfluous. “I don’t know why Tepper needs a new building,” said Rachel Fowler, another sophomore business administration major. “Although it will be nice to get a new building.”
Either way, the establishment of the new building is far in the future. Dean of the Tepper School of Business Robert M. Dammon said that the construction will not break ground until the summer or fall of 2015, and will not be completed until “optimistically the fall of 2017, more likely 2018.”
The university is currently searching for an architectural firm to design the building; they have contacted over 20 firms and are planning to narrow the candidates down in the spring semester. After an architect is selected, it will take between a year and 18 months to finalize a design for the building. The building will hold more than Posner Hall currently does — included in the potential designs for the building are a new fitness and recreation space, a dining location, an auditorium, and a welcome center for prospective students and parents.
President Suresh wants the new auditorium to be the largest on campus, according to Dammon.
The building will also house campus-wide centers for entrepreneurship and collaboration, such as the new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, formed from a marriage of the School of Business’s Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship and the School of Computer Science’s Project Olympus.
The added fitness space coincides with the university’s planned expansion of the University Center, which will gain new exercise areas. According to Dammon, Tepper stipulated that the new building contain a fitness center. “That was one of the things that Tepper was very concerned about, the lack of good fitness facilities here on campus,” Dammon said. “So he insisted that if he’s going to give us $67 million, we have to set aside at least 12,000 square feet in the new building for fitness.”
Dammon emphasized that none of these plans is concrete yet. “Since we haven’t really gotten into design yet, there may be some things we envisioned having in the building that we won’t have space for; we may have to move things around a bit. But the plan is for it to be 295,000 square feet.”
The construction of the Tepper Quadrangle also raises several concerns, since the Quadrangle will reduce parking in the Morewood parking lot as well as relocate Spring Carnival.
“There will be some parking under the building,” Dammon said. “Not enough to make up for everything that’s going to be lost. They are working to find alternatives for parking, but they have not decided exactly what to do yet.”
Dammon mentioned several alternatives for parking, including a new parking garage adjacent to the Tepper Quadrangle and busing students from a parking location slightly further away.
Dammon also raised the concern of the current difficulty of crossing Forbes Avenue, noting that the construction of the Tepper Quadrangle is part of a larger university initiative to expand the Forbes Avenue area. “They are finding ways of what they call ‘taming’ Forbes, making sure that the traffic is slower, synchronizing the lights so that the cars can get through and then there’s a stoppage so people can get across,” Dammon said. “The university is well aware that they have to do something on Forbes Avenue. They have to do it in consultation with the city, obviously — we can’t just do whatever we want.”
Spring Carnival, Dammon said, will still be in the Morewood parking lot for — tentatively — the next two years. Although a final location for Carnival has not yet been decided, Dammon theorizes that it will be in the College of Fine Arts parking lot and on Tech, Frew, and Margaret Morrison streets.
After the construction of the Tepper Quadrangle and the new business building, the building that currently houses the Tepper School of Business will be reallocated for other university departments.
Dammon also emphasized that the new building is not just for Tepper. “People should understand that it’s not just for the Tepper School — there is going to be significant amount of university-wide space. We want it to be very collaborative; we want it to be inviting to the whole campus. So the Tepper School will be there, sure, but there’ll be lots of other things for the university in that space as well.”