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UC to Fund Design Study for Construction of New College of Law Building on Campus

UC’s Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to fund a design study toward construction of a new College of Law building on UC's campus.

Date: 8/24/2016 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824

UC ingot   After weighing options related to the future home of the University of Cincinnati College of Law in recent months, the university’s Board of Trustees today approved $1 million toward a design study related to constructing a new home for the college on campus.

This decision follows an investigation into various potential options for the College of Law, including a possible move to The Banks downtown, renovation of the existing structure, or new construction. The Board had voted at its February meeting to specifically explore a move to The Banks as part of the deliberations of a University Banks Working Group, a university team established to take an in-depth look at the project.

Factors leading to today’s decision include
  • Integrated learning opportunities for today’s law students are enhanced by remaining on campus.
  • Remaining on campus allows the University to leverage existing infrastructure and afford students, faculty and staff ready access to available services (UC’s shuttle services, food services, maintenance, housekeeping, security and utilities).
Jennifer Bard, dean of UC’s College of Law and a member of the University Banks Working Group, explained that although the potential move to The Banks was an exciting possibility, the advantages to staying on campus were considerable.

She explained, “Today’s practice of law requires the ability to work with professionals in many different disciplines. Remaining on campus is a cost-effective way of providing our students with the experience to learn alongside the future engineers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, scientists, architects, managers, teachers, and performing artists who they will someday advise and represent.”

She also stated that the college will continue to build on its already-strong ties to the legal profession and community in our region and beyond.

Interim President Beverly Davenport, also a member of the University Banks Working Group, said, “The goal to enhance the education of our students and their competitive edge in the job market will be met by having a new space on campus that is flexible and adaptable to our needs now and in the future. We will be able to continue our mission to educate and inspire leaders who pursue justice and advance the role of law in society.”

For several years, general consideration has been given to the possibility of renovating or building a new College of Law structure on campus, due to the fact that the current structure is nearly 100 years old.

Those stemmed from the fact that the current College of Law building was originally constructed in 1920 with additions in the 1960s and 1980s. Due to its age, it contains major systems at the end of their useful operating spans, according to University Architect Beth McGrew.

She said, “Renovation or adaptive reuse of the existing structure is not a good option because the original structure and the subsequent additions mean there are differing floor heights, construction types and layouts throughout the structure. In looking at the fit of this facility to the needs of today’s learning environment, we found that the numbers, types and arrangements of spaces don’t really match today’s needs.”

The $1 million approved by the board will fund a concept design for a new building, development of a probable cost for new construction and a relocation study (where to house the current offices and classrooms currently housed in the College of Law elsewhere until construction is complete).