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Haas Adds New Building

Classes are underway at University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, which means the school’s new $60 million building, Chou Hall, is now in use.

The building boasts a range of high-tech features like microphones in the desks. Perhaps most impressive, though, are the building’s green credentials.

Chou Hall, which Haas says is “on track to be the country’s greenest academic building,” is the first academic building in the United States built to the standards of LEED Platinum Certification.

The building’s design includes energy-efficient heating and lighting systems, as well as cisterns to collect rainwater that will be used to flush toilets.

Although there are recycling and compost bins, there are no landfill bins in the building. This is in line with a plan for receiving zero waste certification next summer. Similarly, students are asked to use reusable bottles and mugs, and the school passed out reusable water bottles at orientation.

Besides bolstering Haas’s green creds, Chou Hall will give the school a significant space upgrade. Weighing in at 80,000 square feet, with more than 24,300 square feet of window space, the building brings 12 new classrooms with 858 seats total to Haas’s campus.

Also included are 28 meeting rooms, as well as an event space and a cafe that are set to open soon.

The new facilities mean that Haas, known for its small MBA class sizes, will begin to bring in more students. Already, the school enrolled 284 students this year, up over 30 from last year, and it says it plans on welcoming a class of 300 students to campus next fall.

Chou Hall was funded entirely by donations, as were all of Haas’s original buildings. Most notably, Kevin Chou and Connie Chen made a donation of $15 million, with the potential to increase to $25 million. This was the largest gift by an alum under the age of 40 in UC Berkeley history.

An additional group of five founding donors provided more than half of the building’s funding. And many other smaller donations contributed to the project. For example, the building’s largest classroom will be named in honor of hundreds of Deloitte employees who collectively raised over $3 million.

Haas Dean Rich Lyons said the opening of the new building made Haas both “proud” and “grateful.”

“It’s an exciting time to add this new kind of space for our faculty to teach and students to learn in new ways,” he added. “It will transform the educational experience for generations to come.”