Business as usual? Not quite.

The Nelson Rusche College of Business has taken professionalism to new heights with its multifloor renovations to the R.E. McGee Building.

Since 1975, the McGee Building has housed the business college. In summer 2015, the college began a renovation project to help create a more business-oriented, corporate and collaborative space.

The new Mattress Firm Commons, Marleta Chadwick Student Financial Advisors Suite and Mark T. Layton Lobby, in addition to the updated wall coverings, ceilings, lighting and flooring, have transformed the building.

“These renovations have been a dream for many people for many years,” said Dr. Baker Pattillo, SFA president. “Because of the generosity of some of our alumni and friends of the university, we were able to move forward with this project.”

The renovations on the first and second floors of the building align with the college’s strategic focus, said Dr. Timothy Bisping, dean of the Nelson Rusche College of Business.

“One of the wonderful things about SFA and the Nelson Rusche College of Business is that everything we do is about the success of our students,” Bisping said. “We have a new mission with a strategic focus within the college—Learn, Launch, Lead. We want our students to learn the material they need to be successful. We want to help them launch successful careers, and we want them to become leaders in their fields.”

Mattress Firm Commons creates an environment that fosters collaboration. Its modern design includes charging stations, tables and chairs, and digital signage. Amanda Robbins, director of talent acquisition and retention for Mattress Firm, spoke on behalf of company CEO Steve Stagner, a 1991 SFA marketing graduate, who was instrumental in creating the common area.

“This building is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve spent many hours on this campus, not only as a student, but also here attracting and acquiring top talent,” said Robbins, who also is an SFA graduate. “SFA has really been one of the main pillars of success in our company.”

Robbins said during her time as an employee, Mattress Firm has grown from less than 300 to almost 3,500 stores nationwide.

“SFA is one of the universities that helps us achieve that success and growth,” Robbins said. “Mattress Firm Commons supports the learning environment and collaborative space we have at Mattress Firm. It’s very exciting to see and be a part of this. We hope the building will foster a lot of learning, and hopefully more Lumberjacks will join Mattress Firm.”

The Marleta Chadwick Student Financial Advisors Suite honors the late Marleta Chadwick of Center and houses space for a student group dedicated to providing free financial advice and money management tips to SFA students and members of the Nacogdoches community. It is located in a corner on the first floor and is visible to everyone when entering the building.

“Mother was one who never wanted the limelight or spotlight. The suite is exactly where mother would be—in the corner,” said David Chadwick, son of Marleta Chadwick. “There is no mistake of its simplicity, and there is no mistaking that Marleta Chadwick is in the building. We are so grateful that you acknowledged her.”

The building’s east entrance is home to the Mark T. Layton Lobby. Layton received a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1974 from SFA. A letterman on the Lumberjack football team, Layton is a licensed CPA and joined Deloitte, where he developed financial expertise with significant experience in corporate governance, risk management, regulatory compliance and financial reporting.

“Mark Layton served in many senior leadership roles at Deloitte, including his role as managing partner of Deloitte’s Dallas office,” said Jason Downing, Deloitte North Texas managing partner and also an SFA alumnus. “As a fellow SFA graduate, it gives me a great sense of pride to see Mark’s legacy celebrated in the university that prepared both of us for our business careers at Deloitte. We commemorate Mark’s retirement by dedicating the Mark T. Layton Lobby to the students who will walk these halls for generations to come.”

Layton led an initiative at Deloitte to recruit and hire SFA business graduates. Many of Layton’s friends and colleagues, in honor of his loyalty and dedication to his profession, made contributions that allowed the lobby to be named in his honor. The lobby is equipped with two 75-inch digital signs, which are used to communicate news and opportunities to students.

“When you walk into the Mark T. Layton Lobby and throughout these renovated areas, you see professionalism,” Bisping said. “When our students leave as graduates, land their first jobs and walk into a professional environment, it will not be foreign to them.”

Bisping said the renovation project will continue on the third and fourth floors of the McGee Building, as the college is actively seeking funds to complete those renovations. He described these areas as blank canvases that can be utilized to further the college’s mission.