whartonhillsplaza
The Hills Plaza Building in the SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco will be the new home of Wharton West, which has offered MBA and executive education programs for ten years. The new building, just two blocks away from the current campus at the Folger Bui

Wharton’s west coast counterpart has found a new home.

Wharton San Francisco, the school’s satellite campus in California known as Wharton West, will relocate its headquarters from the Folger Building to the Hills Plaza building in January 2012. The announcement was made as Wharton West, which offers MBA and executive education programs, celebrated its 10-year anniversary this year.

“The relocation of our campus to Hills Plaza is aligned with our vision to establish Wharton as a vibrant presence on both coasts and, moving forward, to position it as a portal to countries in Asia and the Pacific Rim,” Wharton Dean Thomas Robertson said in a statement.

One of the factors Wharton considered in the selection of Hills Plaza was “that it [is] located in the SoMa neighborhood of the city, to ensure that Wharton San Francisco remains in an area known for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Wharton West Vice Dean Doug Collum wrote in an email, referring to San Francisco’s South of Market district.

The Hills Plaza building sits just two blocks away from the current Folger Building. Both buildings are on the Embarcadero, the eastern waterfront that lies along the San Francisco Bay.

But the new location offers a number of upgrades, including “building specs [such as the] high ceilings permitted for construction of amphitheater classrooms that replicate the classrooms in Philadelphia,” Collum wrote.

Hills Plaza is also larger than the current five-story, 20,000-square-foot Folger Building that Wharton partly occupies. At 900,000 square feet and 18-stories high, its larger size will help “to accommodate growth” of Wharton West, Collum wrote.

Most importantly, the “elegance and suitability of [the] space at Hills Plaza [is] commensurate with Wharton standards in Philadelphia,” Collum wrote.

The amenities inside the building will even surpass the accommodations currently available at the Wharton buildings in Philadelphia in some respects. “Our classroom technology will be all digital,” Wharton Chief Information Officer Deirdre Woods wrote in an email.

The building will thus be “future-proof,” making for easy adoption of new technologies, according to a Wharton statement.

“Since all our classrooms in San Francisco will be HD, they will be able to take advantage of [the evolving HD platform] audio and video standards for at least five years,” Woods wrote.

The new relocation will also benefit the home school in Philadelphia, according to Woods.

“One of the advantages of having two campuses,” she wrote, “is that we can test technologies in the West Coast that we will then bring back [to] Philadelphia classrooms.”

She added, “We also plan to link both campuses via HD videoconferencing [and] we will be making upgrades to Philadelphia group study rooms that provide more collaboration inside the group study rooms and across campuses.”

Construction on the Hills Plaza renovation is slated to begin this month.

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