Syracuse University College of Law students beginning their studies in August will start at the old College of Law building on a hillside near the Carrier Dome, but finish in the state-of-the-art $92 million, 200,000 sq. ft. Dineen Hall.
The new law school building is named after noted Syracuse College of Law graduates Robert Emmet Dineen and Carolyn Bareham Dineen. The Dineen family contributed $15 million to the project, the largest donation ever to the College of Law. The college is raising half of the money through donations for the project and the university is paying the other half for the building on the western edge of campus.
“The goal is achievable and we hope to wrap it up before we move in there,” said Marc A. Malfitano, an SU law graduate, real estate developer, adjunct professor and chairman of the College of Law Board of Advisors. “We’re within $9 million of our goal already.”
Groundbreaking occurred on May 10 and construction across the street from the school’s current location is on schedule, according to Scott Watson, marketing director for New York City-based Gluckman Mayner Architects. Firm principal Richard Gluckman is also a Syracuse University alumnus and chairman of the School of Architecture’s Alumni Advisory Board.
Malfitano said there may be a little noise, but anticipates no disruption or displacement of law school activities during the construction period.
The College of Law began evaluating its future space needs in 2004, and decided to go ahead with the new building in 2010 when it was determined that the cost of renovating would be about 80 percent of the cost of a new building, and still not meet all of the school’s needs.
Malfitano said the College of Law is out of library space, out of faculty office and seminar space, and wanted smaller classrooms to reduce the student-teacher ratio.
“A dynamic legal education requires a learning environment that enhances connection, community engagement and opportunity,” said College of Law Dean Hannah R. Arterian in a statement. “Dineen Hall will reflect the changing momentum in legal education and the practice of law. Our new building will have space for interdisciplinary study and programs, collaborative work environments, a state-of-the-art library and ceremonial courtrooms.”
The building is designed to meet the university’s sustainability standards.
Despite a challenging economic climate, Malfitano said enrollment in the law school has increased over the last few years to over 250 students today.
“This is not about building brick and mortar, it’s to implement our mission to teach and turn out lawyers with the right skills and this facility will help us to remain competitive,” he explained.
Since other Syracuse University departments also need more space, the old School of Law building will be repurposed once Dineen Hall is finished.
Those who want to keep track of the progress can view a live remote construction camera soon from the school’s website at www.law.syr.edu.
Dineen Hall isn’t the only structural change the school will see in the near future. The opening of a new 300-student housing center for law school students takes place in August.
“Syracuse didn’t have any housing dedicated for law students before and it’s been a real challenge for us. Students were basically told you’re on your own,” Malfitano said.
The full service apartment building located just a block from the law school will have bike storage, food vendors, a convenience store and laundry, and exercise and computer lab facilities.