St. Thomas law school building opens

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August 25, 2003 // UPDATED 11:03 am - April 30, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

Students and faculty at the University of St. Thomas Law School have moved into a new, $34.6 million building at 12th Street and LaSalle Avenue.

Faculty and administration began moving into the four-story, 158,000-square-foot facility in July, and students began classes Aug. 18.

The school, in its third year of operation, had been located in the university's Terrance Murphy Hall across 11th Street, sharing space with other departments.

The new facility, built by Opus Corp., features a four-story glass atrium, moot courtrooms, a 500,000-volume law library, and 11 classrooms designed to accommodate between 20 and 110 students each.

"There are windows all over the place," said Tim Busse, the law school's director of external relations. "Everybody I've talked to absolutely loves the place."

The law school is accessible via skyway to a new parking ramp at 11th and Harmon Place. That connection remains apart from Downtown's skyway network, but it will eventually be linked through a new entrepreneurial studies school to be built across 11th Street.

The law school building is designed to accommodate up to 450 students, Busse said; there are currently 350 students enrolled. The law school has about two dozen faculty members.

The new building's opening coincides with the school's provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association. It means the law school's first graduates this spring may sit for any bar exam in the country. After two years, the school is up for full accreditation.

The building's formal dedication is Oct. 17, Busse said. The school's board of governors and members of the area's legal community will be invited to the ceremony.

Another open house is planned for fall, but a date has not been set, he said.