With outstanding students, an exceptional faculty, and exemplary programs, The University of Cincinnati College of Law has earned a strong reputation for excellence. Students are drawn to the College of Law for its unique learning experience offering small classes, a low student-faculty ratio, and a strong sense of community. However, the program’s growth and advancement have been bound by the constraints of its current building. Without a new home, these limitations are expected to limit the needs of the program itself.
A major priority of the university is to provide the College of Law with a physical environment that is both functional and aesthetically inspirational. The plans for a new home are being developed to align the College’s facilities with an innovative curriculum, and to position the College for its rightful place among the nation’s elite institutions of legal education.
An evaluation of the College’s facility in 2007 was conducted by a joint team consisting of the College of Law, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Planning+Design+Construction. The evaluation included independent professional engineering assessments; building code, architectural, and site assessments; and a programmatic evaluation to test functional suitability and to identify potential space needs.
The following critical observations led the team to conclude that neither a renovation nor an addition to the College’s existing facility were viable options:
Early planning stages envision a 120,000-140,000 square foot building at an estimated cost of $70 million. The concepts to date have focused on classrooms, offices, courtrooms, informal meeting rooms, space for a moot court, student government activities areas, interview rooms, and a new law library. Concepts are also being developed to accommodate the College’s centers, institutes, and clinics that are so essential for experiential learning experiences.
In the spring of 2011, the University’s Planning+Design+Construction office retained the consulting services of SmithGroup, an architectural design firm, and conducted a series of workshops with the College’s faculty, staff, and students to identify functional, operational, organizational, and spatial parameters for the new building. A visual summary, based on the comments and observations from these workshops, illustrates the differences between the existing law school building and the proposed new facility.
The construction and fundraising timeline anticipates that the College will welcome students to a new facility in August 2017.
The new law school building provides you with a unique opportunity to honor family, friends, or colleagues who have made a difference in your life.
How much money needs to be raised for the new building?
Total building costs are estimated to be $65 million. UC has committed $35 million and we are raising $30 million in private funds.
How much funding will be allocated from the state for this project?
The state of Ohio will not be committing any financial resources to this project. This lack of funding at the state level, increases the importance of private support exponentially.
Where will the new building be located?
Numerous potential sites have been considered in a lengthy selection process involving the University and the College of Law Board of Visitors. The strong consensus was for the College to remain at its current location on the corner of Clifton and Calhoun. Why? We are an outstanding academic institution that draws strength from its interdisciplinary relationships within a major university. Yet we also are public-facing institution with nearly two centuries of active engagement with our legal, business, professional, and civic communities. We are a cornerstone.
Where will the law school relocate during the construction process?
The Office of Planning+Design+Construction is currently exploring options and looking at a number of sites that will allow us to stay together during the two year construction period.
Will the new building be larger than the current building?
Our existing building provides 98,000 “usable” square feet. Early planning stages for the new building envision a 120,000-140,000 square foot new home for the College of Law which—while comparable to the existing building in total gross square footage—will provide more usable square footage.
When will the new building be built?
The construction and fundraising timeline anticipates construction to begin in 2015, with the College welcoming students to a new facility in August 2017.