OU College of Law Breaks Ground on $17 Mil Addition

Article excerpt

The University of Oklahoma College of Law used its 90th anniversary celebration to break ground on the $17 million addition that will double the size of the law school.

The addition will include:

* l The Law Library: A 58,367-gross-square-foot space, which doubles the space available to house the Law School's 300,896- volume legal reference collection and brings OU's library into full compliance with ABA standards.

* A 250-seat courtroom/auditorium: This 6,705-gross-square-foot space, far larger than any teaching space in the current College of Law building, will accommodate major college and public activities, including trials brought to the OU College of Law through special arrangements with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, as well as local and state courts; glassed-in second- floor teaching rooms that provide an operating theater style setting for viewing trials; "Courtroom of the Future" components including bench, counsel table, and jury box computers that offer immediate access to relevant law materials and trial evidence; and multimedia viewing room that gives law students the opportunity to view videotape courtroom performances.

* The Computer Learning Laboratory: This 1,200-gross-square- foot area designed to accommodate 30 computers will be used in training sessions to give students the computer research, writing, and technical skills needed in modern legal practice.

* The Great Law Reading Room: This book-lined two-story space featuring vaulted wood-beamed ceilings is modeled after the fondly remembered reading room in Monnet Hall, the College of Law's first home. The reading room will build a sense of community by providing law students with a place to come together for quiet study. Additionally, the library will have individual carrels for private study and small conference rooms for group discussions.

OU Law Dean Andy Coats launched "The New Century Capital Campaign" to fund the $17 million project. OU committed $10 million from a past bond issue and money raised through soft drink sales on campus. The law school's private campaign raised the remaining $7 million through gifts from alumni and friends.

The Sarkeys Foundation of Norman made the largest single gift of $1.6 million grant given in honor of alumnus Dick Bell. In recognition of the gift, the courtroom/auditorium in the new addition will be named for the late Bell, a 1932 graduate of the College of Law and longtime Seminole attorney.

In the courts

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a $45,000 libel judgment against a Norman legislator.

The court held that the evidence in the case did not prove state Rep. Wallace Collins, D-Norman, was guilty of malice for distributing a campaign flier accusing his opponent in the 1996 Democratic primary, Kenneth Adair, of accepting an illegal corporate contribution.

The case was remanded to the Cleveland County District Court with instructions that it be dismissed.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court declined to hear Collins' appeal from an $82,000 libel judgement awarded Steve Byas, the lawmaker's Republican opponent in the 1996 general election.

Byas also had alleged he was libeled by Collins' campaign literature.

Day Edwards Federman Propester & Christensen has filed a lawsuit on behalf of an Oklahoma investor against FFP Securities, Pacific Life Insurance and American Skandia Life Assurance, as well as a registered agent, for fraud, negligence, and violations of the Oklahoma Securities Act and the Oklahoma Insurance Code. …