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Decision on law school move may come soon

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College of Law 1/31

The College of Law building at the University of Cincinnati.

A final decision to move the University of Cincinnati College of Law to The Banks could be made by the end of the semester.

“Due to class, classroom space, as well as other spaces in the College of Law significantly deteriorating, the College of Law is no longer an adequate space for the 296 students,” said Andrew Naab, Student Government president, at the SG meeting Wednesday.

With about 300 students and 40 faculty members, the law school is the smallest college on campus. Founded in 1833, it is the fourth-oldest continuously operated law school in the nation. It was Ohio’s only law school for 50 years, and began with 17 students. 

The proposal for the law school to be moved to The Banks was announced by Cincinnati Councilman Charlie Winburn in February 2012 as a city investment opportunity. 

"The law school will have an opportunity to connect again to our downtown development, our economic center, all the court houses, all the lawyers that are downtown,” said Winburn

Sean Kenny, a University of Dayton fourth-year psychology student, is applying to the UC law school as his primary choice. He agrees the proximity to the Hamilton County Justice Center would be convenient for students.

“With regards to UC moving downtown, I think that would be a good idea for the UC law school to be close to where it can make the most impact, especially since there’s a lot of legislation that does take place within downtown, and there’s the courthouse downtown and everything like that — it would be closer to where the law actually happens,” Kenny said.

The UC Board of Trustees has yet to make an official decision for the law school relocation, but is expected to discuss the possibility at their meeting Tuesday.

“Discussion will need to be had regarding to affordable housing, transportation, parking, some of the different services that are being provided, how the fees, costs, instruction will breakdown, what fees the law students will pay for now that they will be offsite, and a multitude of others,” Naab said.

According to Naab, $25 million would have to be raised within a 90-day period to make the move.

The SG passed a resolution Wednesday, demanding the Board of Trustees includes students and faculty in relocation discussions.

“It’s growing a lot, and it’s becoming one of the better law schools in the country, so when it comes down to this expansion, it’s really, like, integral for us to kind of be part of the process and figure out what that future looks like,” said Elysse Winget, SG at-large senator.

While the SG bill demands student and faculty input, it does not take a stance on the movement to The Banks. Many still expect the move is a strong possibility.

“It is likely guaranteed that the College of Law will be moving down to The Banks, Lot 24, that’s directly behind the General Electric building,” said Naab.  

“Expanding to include more students is always a good thing, because there will be a lot of people who have the opportunity to learn and become more delved into law, especially within the Cincinnati area,” said Kenny.

The Banks is the name of the developing Cincinnati riverfront between Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds. 

It is the second-largest mixed-use urban development design in the country. The city has invested over $2 billion in the project, according to Naab.

Development began April 2008 as a revitalization of the riverfront, and includes new buildings for luxury apartment residences, hotels, and retail and office spaces. 

The project is associated with 2,400 jobs and $275 million in economic activity annually, according to the Economics Center of the University of Cincinnati.