Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Law School Looks to Add Space Rather Than Move OU Takes Another Look at Long-Term Priorities; `the Logical Direction (for Expansion) Is South'

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Law School Looks to Add Space Rather Than Move OU Takes Another Look at Long-Term Priorities; `the Logical Direction (for Expansion) Is South'

Article excerpt

The University of Oklahoma College of Law has scrapped its plans to relocate to main campus.

When Dean Andy Coats took the helm at the law school in the spring of 1996, one of his goals was to boost the school's presence by transplanting it to the original site on the North Oval in Monnet Hall. University President David Boren also supported the change.

But the move from south campus was contingent upon adequate funding, and the law school has now re-examined its priorities.

"It's more economical over the long haul to add to the building we have," said Robert B. Smith, associate dean of the law school.

Smith also pointed to the existing parking problems on main campus as a benefit to staying put. The new addition to the Student Union also diminished the space available for construction on the North Oval.

As for the school's "presence" Boren and Coats wanted to enhance, it appears the mountain is moving to Mohammed.

"The logical direction (for expansion) is south," Smith said. "The university is coming to us."

Case in point: The mammoth Sam Noble Museum of Natural History -- set for completion in 1999 -- located to the southwest of the Law Center.

Too, the vacant fields between the law school and the Lloyd Noble Center further south provide ample room for campus growth.

In charge at the law school while Coats is out of the country until mid-month, Smith said the addition of a library building to the present facility is in the offing.

"There's plenty of need," he noted.

The space the library now occupies would be used for additional classrooms and "cutting edge courtrooms" that could house real trials and appellate arguments. The added square footage would allow for more computer labs and special book collections as well.

OU isn't providing any dollar amounts to the plans, but the school has launched aggressive fund raising and has increased its in-state tuition to about $2,070 per semester, an 18 percent jump since Coats took over.

At the same time, however, OU is cutting back on enrollment, in part to decrease the teacher-student ratio, an issue raised during the American Bar Association accreditation committee's last visit. …

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