Jefrey Woodall, chair of the York College School of Business, shows off the new Willman Business Center at the college.
Jefrey Woodall, chair of the York College School of Business, shows off the new Willman Business Center at the college. (Bil Bowden photo)

Jefrey Woodall still breathes a sigh of relief every time his elevator pass works correctly in the new Willman Business Center.

It's one of the minor glitches that come with moving into a brand new building at York College, and one Woodall will gladly take, along with the upgrades in technology and facilities for the students.

Woodall, the chairman of the Graham School of Business at the college, is one of 31 staff and faculty members in the business school to move into the Willman Business Center, which opened in mid-August.

Woodall said the 15-month project added eight classrooms, numerous small meeting areas for students and several labs, including a NASDAQ training lab sponsored by the stock market.

Woodall said NASDAQ gave $500,000 to build the lab, which includes four Apple televisions, an individual work station for every student, "smart" boards and software that allows students to simulate stock trades in real time.

The televisions show the market trends and allow students to compare stock values, monitor the markets and compare commodities like natural gas and heating oil. The televisions can also sync with other Apple technologies to show what is on an iPad or iPhone screen.

The smart boards, located in every classroom in the building, allow professors to project an image on a white board and then "draw" on top with computerized markings with an electronic pen. The technology also allows professors to take a

picture of the finished drawing and save it for future use.

In the lab each seat has a desktop computer that retracts into the desk, outfitted with software for trading programs and to show stock portfolios. The computers also have MorningStar, a software popular for business management.

Future potential: Woodall said the trading lab opens up possibilities for new classes in areas like financial literacy and investments.

Woodall said the faculty have discussed the possibility of having student stock portfolios and perhaps even a York College fund managed by students. Those options are only in the discussion stages, but Woodall said the potential for growth is there, and he expects the business school's enrollment to grow as a result.

Woodall said the school is also building on community relationships and hopes to see an expansion of those.

For example, business majors have an opportunity to take an integrated business class where groups of two, three or four students will work together with the leaders of local businesses. Each group analyzes the business it is assigned to see how it fits in the industry.

Woodall said the class fits with the mission of having the students learn how to do things, not just memorize terms. Plus, the model involves between 40 and 60 local businesses, depending on the semester.

In addition, the new building boasts a fifth-floor hall the college hopes to offer as a meeting place for off-campus businesses and organizations. The Yorkview Hall is intended as a conference room of sorts and is wired for presentations just like the classrooms. It also provides a panoramic view of York City, which adds to the aesthetic of the room.

Woodall said the business school is still figuring out the logistics of offering the space for public use, but hopes to continue integrating the business community.

For now, though, Woodall said the priority is making sure the new building features add to the students' experience.

"Our focus is where it should be -- on making sure that we're delivering a good class for the students," he said.

Nikelle Snader can also be reached at nsnader@yorkdispatch.com.