“Today’s positive vote by the South Carolina Budget and Control Board is a tremendous milestone for the school, and brings us much closer to realizing our vision of a state-of-the-art facility that will allow us to offer the very best program of legal education and research well into the future,” said Robert M. Wilcox, dean of the law school. “This is a day that we have all been looking forward to and working toward for a long time, and will only be surpassed by the day we actually break ground on the construction site next summer.”
He went on to give credit and thanks to those who have helped make this monumental moment possible. “We are now able to proceed in large part due to the commitment shown to the project by the University Board of Trustees, President Pastides, Ed Walton, and other officers of the University, as well as the hard work that John Montgomery, Burnele Powell, and Jack Pratt invested in this project during their tenures as Dean. Steve Hamm and Mike Kelly have been stalwarts as co-chairs of our campaign throughout, working with our development directors, Sharon Williams, Rachelle Bussell, and Michelle Hardy. Over the last two years, Henry McMaster has offered valuable help as well,” said Wilcox.
With funding cleared, the law school will continue its work with city planning staff and university officials to obtain final design approvals. Construction on the 187,000 square foot building is anticipated to begin in late summer of 2014, and should be finished before the School of Law’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
The new building will be located on the north side of the University of South Carolina campus in the block that is bounded by Gervais, Bull, Senate and Pickens streets. It will be steps from the university’s Children’s Law Center as well as the National Advocacy Center, and the S.C. Statehouse and Supreme Court.
The new building will have a flexible design to meet the changing needs of legal education and will maximize interaction and collaboration among students and faculty and engagement among members in the legal community. Similarly, the technology is being designed to be state of the art to meet today’s needs, but still remain flexible enough to be easily adaptable for future innovations. The new law school will also project a much more modern and sophisticated image consistent with the expectations of both the legal profession, and the transformative work performed within its walls.
Current plans call for a more open and inviting space, with a variety of academic learning spaces, four courtrooms and a student affairs suite that will centralize admissions, registrar, career and other services. Space devoted to clinical offices and student organizations will also increase. The new building will also incorporate dedicated event space, enabling it to host conferences, lectures and similar activities that will benefit students and the legal community.