Stanford debuts 'cutting edge' Knight business center | April 29, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 29, 2011

Stanford debuts 'cutting edge' Knight business center

Public opening takes place today

by Sue Dremann

A new state-of-the-art business-school complex spearheaded by Nike founder Philip H. Knight will open at Stanford University on April 29.

The 360,000-square-foot, eight-building Knight Management Center at the Graduate School of Business is central to Stanford's green-energy and climate-action vision and a new style of 21st-century business education, officials said.

Knight, a Stanford MBA who graduated in 1962, contributed $105 million to the $345 million project. It was the largest gift ever to a business school at the time, according to the university.

The complex is the centerpiece of the university's energy- and potable-water reduction strategy, which is far more stringent than the state's, said Fahmida Ahmed, associate director of Stanford's Office of Sustainability.

The Knight buildings are expected to expend 45 percent less energy and use 80 percent less potable water, compared to a building of its type, she said.

The buildings can achieve the highest LEED Platinum rating for environmental sustainability from the U.S. Green Building Council. They include photovoltaic panels to supply 12.5 percent of the complex's energy from solar, daylight illumination for 90 percent of workspaces, efficient under-floor air-distribution systems and heat-recapturing systems and rainwater capture.

"We're very excited about these eight buildings. It's a major milestone on campus," Ahmed said.

The new buildings will enhance the school's comprehensive 2007 Masters of Business Administration program, which includes critical analytical thinking in small seminars, a global experience requirement in another country, personal-leadership development and innovative problem solving in small groups whose members span a variety of disciplines, including medicine, engineering, design and business, business school Dean Garth Saloner said.

The center's NGP CoLab space, which forgoes fixed desks, houses collaborative design-thinking classes. The 600-person CEMEX Auditorium in Zambrano Hall features university-wide programming to engage non-business students from across campus.

"It's a virtual world, but it is face-to-face interactions — often that happen in serendipitous fashion — that are still critical to the way much of great innovation takes place," Stanford University President John Hennessy said.

In January, the school introduced a new 20-week evening certificate program in innovation and entrepreneurship for working professionals in engineering and the sciences and non-business graduate students.

The complex constitutes a significant portion of the 2 million square feet in net academic-building space that the university was allotted under its Santa Clara County 2000 General Use Permit.

Stanford has built out nearly half of the allotted square footage, said Jean McCown, Stanford's director of community relations. Several other buildings, including the 500,000 square-foot Science and Engineering Quad, also represent the university's green strategy. Three of the quad's four buildings are currently open: The Huang Engineering Center, Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building (Y2E2) use 50 percent less energy and 90 percent less water, according to Ahmed.

Two medical buildings comprising about 320,000 square feet and the Bing Concert Hall are also in accord with the university's stringent environmental building standards, which are 30 percent higher than California energy-efficiency design standards and 25 percent greater for water efficiency, she said.

The April 29 opening features an open house for the general public from 2 to 5 p.m. Festivities include a debate on leadership by Graduate School of Business staff, music by the Stanford Band and campus a cappella groups, refreshments and prizes.

The center is located at 655 Knight Way, Stanford.

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at


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