The University of Cincinnati (UC) has broken ground on a brand-new law college situated on Campus Green Drive near the newly constructed Carl H. Lindner College of Business which opened for students and faculty in the fall of 2019. The UC Board of Trustees voted on Feb. 23 to approve more than $29 million in state funds as the beginning of a $45.6 million plan to renovate the former College of Business building initially constructed in 1986.
"Evaluation of the needs of the college and the adaptability of the building to modernize the existing structure were not favorable and would not be able to yield the desired outcomes," said John Seibert, the associate vice president of Planning, Design and Construction. "The location will also help Dean Williams have closer proximity to cross-campus collaborations that will help her partner with other colleges and the campus population."
The building's brick outer shell will be retained, but the tinted windows will be replaced with clear glass, opening the space and allowing for more natural light. Classrooms and interior rooms will be enlarged and updated, with spaces allocated for congregating and studying. A large auditorium and moot courtroom will be constructed as well, all while adhering to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for new construction as dictated by the U.S. Green Building Council.
"Like the new Linder College of Business or the Health Science Building both recently completed, with all projects we are fortunate enough to design and construct we strive to create welcoming, collaborative environments for all to utilize and enjoy," said Seibert.
Library stacks, a rare book room and archives will replace the Learning Commons and MASS center located in the basement of the existing building. There is no plan to have retail shopping or food stores included in the renovation, however, the building's location is in close proximity to the Lindner College of Business' Starbucks.
"The new building provides students with much more space for studying and collaborating with one another," said Verna Williams, the dean for the College of Law at UC. "The location across from the Linder College of Business will make developing partnerships across disciplines more likely. In addition, we will be right next to Langsam Library and the resources it provides. All in all, the new location and facility will enhance the educational experience for law students."
The renovation will include a minor addition located at the intersection of the six-story tower and the lower two-story classroom wing, which runs north to south along the edge of Campus Green Garage. Additionally, the tower will host faculty offices, the Ohio Innocence Project, Urban Morgan Institute and other clinical programs, such as the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, Domestic Violence Clinic and the Civil Protection Order Clinic.
"Students across campus will be drawn to our new building because of the abundance of space – inside and out—to study and meet with classmates,” said Williams. “In addition, we will have many more places in which to hold signature events that attract visitors from our campus and the greater Cincinnati community."
Rather than just a construction project meant to expand the law college's presence on campus, the new law college is part of the larger mission to construct multidisciplinary centers in the University Innovation District. This will assure not only the university's status as a major employer and educator, but as a contributor to the general prosperity of legal society.
"Our new home will only amplify our existing mission of educating and inspiring leaders who pursue justice and advance the role of law in society,” said Williams. “The location facilitates our work with community partners and will yield other opportunities, such as collaborations with the iHub, Digital Futures, and other partners in the expanding Innovation District."
Christi-Anne Beatty, a second-year law student at UC interested in civil litigation, gave her insight into how the renovation will charge her studies and way of life on campus. "I think the new space will make the law school more open," and ultimately, "a more fun place to hang out," said Beatty.
Karli Canterbury, a senior graduating this spring in law and society, agrees. "I think this will be more convenient for law students since it's supposed to be in the middle of campus and not on the outskirts anymore," said Canterbury. "I think any student will benefit from the new building, but especially in aspects of technological improvements [and] more study spaces."
Canterbury says that like the Lindner building, the new law building will be "specific to law students, but helpful to all."