K.W. Nasser Centre
On September 24, 2009, the Edwards School of Business held its grand opening of the K.W. Nasser Centre, located at 256 Third Avenue South in Saskatoon. A brief program and ribbon cutting ceremony took place including remarks from Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour; Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison; Dr. Richard Florizone, Vice President of Finance and Resources with the U of S; Dr. Brooke Dobni, Acting Dean of Edwards School of Business; as well as a speech by Dr. K.W Nasser. The program was followed by a reception and informal tours of the campus.
The newest campus of the Edwards School of Business was named after the man who made the downtown campus a reality, K.W. Nasser, a prominent businessperson and U of S alumnus. His family's donation to the school is valued at more than $2 million. The Nasser family has been dedicated to the U of S for over 40 years and their desire to support students and faculty and to ensure the Saskatoon business community stays connected to the U of S was the motivating factor behind this wonderful opportunity.
The campus is home to the Master of Business Administration program, executive and professional programming offered through Business Advisory Services, the Executive Business Administration Certificate (EBAC) program, the new Aboriginal Business Administration Certificate (ABAC) program, and occasional activities of other university units. Housing these programs downtown will enable the Edwards School to accommodate up to 200 additional Bachelor of Commerce students on campus by 2012 without increasing class sizes. The downtown business campus, which will also be the new home of the School’s business administration certificate program in addition to other certificate, executive and professional programming, is convenient for MBA students who often work at firms downtown, the Dean explained.
“The K.W. Nasser Centre’s location enhances the student experience through its convenience, ease of access and increased opportunities to connect with members of the business community,” said Acting Dean Brooke Dobni. “A downtown campus also brings us closer to many of our stakeholders and gives Edwards the means to provide business programming in a business environment.”
The building was originally built in 1912 as the Willoughby Sumner Block occupied by residential units on the top three floors and retail merchants on the main floor. The building saw a few major renovation projects throughout the years and transformed into a commercial building with a change of name to the Bevan Building and then to the London Building. Some of the major tenants were Dept. of Veteran Affairs and Revenue Canada. The building then sat vacant for a number of years until Victory Companies bought it in 1994. Victory gutted, renovated and converted the use of the building in 1998 and called it The Vienna Building, and featured 30 residential condominium units on the top three floors and the Vienna Boutiques, composed of 17 retail outlets on the main and lower levels.
Today, the downtown campus is a 1626 sq m space, allowing the Edwards School of Business to offer business programming in a business setting. “With other Canadian universities moving their business schools, or portions thereof to downtown locations, the Edwards School of Business does not want to be left behind,” Dobni added.
Dobni believes the School’s new presence downtown will add to the revitalization of Third Avenue and the downtown core as a whole. “It’s really going to be a vibrant area in the next five years, so we want to be there and a part of that,” he said.