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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Law College to undergo renovation

    Administrators at the James E. Rogers College of Law announced yesterday that students will experience a “”big move”” during the renovation of the college’s main building.

    Toni Massaro, dean of the law college, said Rountree Hall and the main outside classrooms would remain open, but other classes will be held in a new building at the intersection of East Mabel Street and North Fremont Avenue beginning in June. She said the building will later be used as studio space for art students.

    Materials from the library will be available at different locations, but most will be transported to an old church at the corner of South Vine Avenue and East Speedway Boulevard.

    Massaro said though the move may be hard on some students, it should be looked at as an opportunity to strengthen the college and make progress to a new future.

    “”I think of us in an exciting way – a generation up at bat,”” Massaro said.

    Plans are to remove the giant slabs of cement that encase the main building, providing a library and study areas open to natural light.

    As part of the construction project, Room 138 of the College of Law building will be demolished, making way for a new grand entrance and other learning facilities, Massaro said.

    Paul Fisher, a first-year law student, said he and many others use the medical school library to study because it is more accommodating than the law school’s library.

    Fisher said he was looking forward to the renovation because the College of Law facilities aren’t up to par with the other professional schools on campus. He said he doesn’t know yet if it will impact the educational quality of the college, but that any temporary inconveniences will be for the common good.

    “”It really needs to be done,”” Fisher said.

    Brian Bloodworth, a business economics senior and president of the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta who hopes to attend law school in the fall, said he is excited for the construction but also likes the library the way it is. He said he often goes there to study for his undergraduate classes because it is so quiet.

    “”I’m not worried,”” Bloodworth said. “”I think my education would be the same.””

    Massaro said the renovation project is designed to make the building foster community and reflect the primacy of students at the college. Renovating the existing building will be more effective than an expansion, because expansion would require the purchase of a sloped parking lot, which could be difficult to build on.

    Massaro said she first thought the construction would cost $18 million, though the cost of construction materials and labor has skyrocketed since. She said she would cap costs at $21 million.

    “”We will not go a dime more,”” Massaro said.

    Whatever the cost of the project, the college will not change its tuition rates to cover those expenses, Massaro said.

    But the universitywide base tuition might continue to increase, which is out of the control of the law college administration, she said.

    Mary K. Kavanagh, associate dean of theCollege of Law, said students would not see any major changes to the current course list.

    But there will be no summer session class on professional responsibility, in part because of the move and in part because of its lack of demand, Kavanagh said. Last summer the class attracted 15 students.

    Randy Lopez, a third-year law student and president of the UA Student Bar Association, said the administration “”hasn’t been shy”” about keeping students informed on issues surrounding the move. He noted student organizations’ members have been polled about their needs.

    It’s a big project, and there are bound to be some people who get upset about one point or another, Fisher said, but everyone he’s spoken with said they agree the renovation needs to happen.

    Bloodworth, said he hasn’t heard anything about students being deterred from applying to the College of Law because of the construction.

    Massaro said she was most worried about making first-year students more comfortable in an already stressful time, and she urged students who will graduate next year to help ease others in the transition.

    “”This is a river,”” Massaro said. “”The law school is not just a snapshot of the time you are here.””

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