UC College of Law celebrates new facility, hosts Sept. 13 grand opening
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will keynote event
The University of Cincinnati College of Law will host a grand opening for its new home, a $45.6 million renovation now located near the heart of the Uptown campus.
The 116,735-square-foot structure replaces the former Lindner College of Business building with planners reinventing and reconfiguring an existing building to create a state-of-the-art law school. The structure is designed to meet the technological specialized needs for 412 law students and 78 faculty and staff.
The law school moved into the building in August and classes are currently underway. A grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the building at 2925 Campus Green Drive is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13. The event’s keynote speaker will be Maureen O’Connor, chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. Tours of the law school will be available and participants are asked to register.
“Students, faculty and staff have watched the construction progress over the last 18 months and are thrilled about our new home,” says Verna Williams, dean of the UC College of Law. “We marvel at the many light-filled spaces that invite collaboration among students, faculty and community.
“Our new building embodies the college’s orientation toward the future while embracing our storied past,” says Williams. “We’re proud of this facility and invite the UC community to join us in celebrating this new addition to our beautiful campus.”
The project’s contractor is Skanska, an international construction and development company and one of the largest general contractors in Greater Cincinnati, while global design firm Perkins & Will is leading the project as signature architect. Cincinnati-based BHDP Architecture served as the architect of record on the project.
“It is always a pleasure when we can partner with a long-term client like the University of Cincinnati. Our team is honored to deliver another state-of-the-art academic building that will support the needs of law students for years to come,” said Chris Hopper, Skanska executive vice president and general manager.
Dean Williams, who has presided over much of the law school’s construction, will step down as dean and leave UC later this month to become CEO of Equal Justice Works, a national nonprofit that promotes public service by building and mobilizing an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations and supporters. Michael Whiteman, chief of staff, associate dean of library services and director of the law library, has been appointed interim dean of the law school.
“Our new building with state-of-the-art amenities will allow UC Law to continue to leverage our legal partnership with regional and national companies, law firms and nonprofit organizations that make a difference in our world,” explains Whiteman.
“Our law school students, faculty and staff create access to legal services, serve start-ups and entrepreneurs, address domestic violence cases and represent and exonerate wrongfully convicted men and women through the Ohio Innocence Project based at the University of Cincinnati,” says Whiteman.
“We are attracting the best students, faculty and staff and our new facility will help us showcase the talent at the university,” says Whiteman.
The new law school building has the following features:
- Six stories
- 23 classrooms and seminar and private study rooms
- Flexible classroom layouts, furnishings and technology
- Multiple individual and student group study spaces throughout
- Two-story lobby atrium and second-floor outdoor terrace
- The Honorable Sandra S. Beckwith Courtroom, which will serve as the primary mock trial courtroom for the College of Law — Judge Beckwith is a 1968 graduate of the UC College of Law and the first woman to sit on the U.S. District Court for Southern District of Ohio. The courtroom is the result of fellow alumni of Beckwith donating $500,000 for the project.
At a November beam-signing ceremony, UC Foundation President Peter Landgren said the new building for the UC College of Law couldn’t have happened without alumni and community partners stepping up to make this vision a reality. Several impactful gifts contributed to the building campaign.
The soaring atrium in the new UC College of Law building has been named in honor of Peck, Shaffer & Williams LLP, the former firm of H.C. Buck Niehoff, JD ’72, Hon ’11, who contributed $500,000 to the project. Niehoff said his gift celebrates the firm where he spent his 40-year law career and coincides with his 50-year class reunion.
The Cincinnati law firm, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, has also contributed a $500,000 gift for the multipurpose room, another showcase feature of the building, named for the law firm. “We are very happy about the new UC College of Law building and excited to partner with them in naming a room,” says George Vincent, Dinsmore’s managing partner and chairman. “Dinsmore considers the College of Law a strategic resource for the entire community.”
Two gifts of $250,000 also helped create the James B. Helmer, Jr. Classroom Class of 1975 and the Victor E. Schwartz Law Review Suite in the new College of Law Building.
Featured image at top of UC College of Law lobby/Joseph Fuqua II
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