BU Alumni Web

School of Law to Get Major Face-lift

Two trustees kick off $20 million fundraiser

| From BU Today | By RICH BARLOW

The School of Law needs new space and refurbishing. Photo courtesy of BU School of Law

Already laying claim to a top-caliber faculty, the School of Law now plans to build educational space to match.

A planned renovation of LAW’s 265-foot tower, involving interior upgrades and construction of a new west wing, has been jump-started by two BU trustees. Stephen Zide (LAW’86), managing director of Bain Capital, in New York, gave $1 million, and Richard Cartier Godfrey (LAW’79), a senior partner at the firm Kirkland & Ellis, in Chicago has given $1.5 million. They are among almost two dozen “founding partners” who have already pledged contributions to the project.

The University has agreed to underwrite the bulk of the renovation and construction project—$141 million—but is asking donors to contribute $20 million to fund the rest by May 2012, when officials hope that groundbreaking on the new wing will start.

LAW is “one of the true jewels of BU’s crown,” BU President Robert A. Brown has said. “Now it is time for us to make a major strategic investment to support the school in its tradition of excellence.”

“The law school’s continued excellence is central to the University’s goal of being one of the leading urban universities,” Zide says. “During my time as a student there a quarter-century ago, the law school tower needed improvements to bring the facilities in line with the quality of the faculty and the balance of the educational experience.”

The half-century old tower’s deficiencies include some that impede education, LAW leaders say. Acoustic and visual impairments hamper learning in some classrooms with steeply tiered seating, the result of configuring space in a vertical building. Study space is in tight supply; the heating, air conditioning, roof, and windows are antiquated; and there can be long elevator waits during peak hours to reach classrooms that are as high as the 15th floor.

The new west wing, to sit atop what is now a courtyard and underground heating plant, will house most of LAW’s classrooms, new study space, and a new library to complement the existing Pappas Law Library. Construction of the wing is expected to take two years, and the rest of the tower will be renovated over the next 15 months, says Cornell L. Stinson, LAW assistant dean for development and alumni relations.

In addition to utility improvements, faculty and administrative offices will move to the upper floors, and a pedestrian concourse will be added to the ground floor, with an atrium and stairway on the east end for a new main entrance.

“Overall, the main flow of people on our campus will be horizontal, rather than vertical,” according to a LAW brochure on the project.

Giving to the project, Zide says, represents “an opportunity to be part of both solidifying the leadership of the law school and moving BU forward toward its goals.”

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On 26 October 2011 at 2:53 PM, gcollins wrote:

It seems the space will be too tight with mugar on one side, theology on the other and law on the other. I know that area is wasted but to small for such a big building. How about build next to the brick building where the parking lot is. It is an easy walk to Law tower.

On 20 June 2011 at 3:06 PM, AP wrote:

I always thought they should move BU Academy into the LAW building, and take BU Academy's space for a new LAW tower.

They could start from scratch and make it so those tiny seventh-graders aren't crossing University Road at lunchtime. I knew so many college and grad students who got hit by cars there, yet the tiny kiddies had no choice but to do it twice a day.

On 20 June 2011 at 12:59 PM, Joan C. Shmia (SED'65) wrote:

I remember how excited we were when the new Law/Education building was opened in the early 60s. Both needed new facilties and it was so good for us Ed students to have a nice new faciltiy. Times have certainly changed and it is nice to see that the Building can still be used even though it needs renovations. Of course, SED needed its own space a long time ago. I was on campus f couple of years ago for the first time since graduation and was glad to see that the building was still there, but could not forget the excitemement we felt at its opening.

On 20 June 2011 at 10:02 AM, Kelly (LAW'06) wrote:

There are already two law libraries. The main library in the tower and the "annex" which is located in the basement of the main undergrad library. Perhaps the annex will move to the new wing.

On 9 May 2011 at 3:16 PM, Tom (MET'81) wrote:

So there will be two law libraries?

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