Campus, News

LAW building renovations near halfway point

Fall 2013 marks the halfway point in the Sumner M. Redstone Building construction project. PHOTO BY HEATHER GOLDIN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Fall 2013 marks the halfway point in the Sumner M. Redstone Building construction project. PHOTO BY HEATHER GOLDIN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

As the skeleton of the new tower stands next to the existing School of Law Tower, the construction of five new floors of classrooms within LAW’s new building is approximately halfway complete, officials said.

“The law school’s new [Sumner M.] Redstone Building is very much a student-centric building that is being constructed with the needs of the students coming first and foremost,” said LAW Director of Communications and Marketing Ann Comer-Woods.

The five-story building will be around 93,000 square feet and will wrap around the current tower, she said. It will provide more classrooms and study space and will include an expansion of Pappas Law Library as well as a small student dining facility.

Comer-Woods said the project is scheduled for completion for the fall 2014 semester.

LAW student groups will have more meeting space in the new building, something which Comer-Woods said the current facility lacks.

“In addition to the classroom and educational facilities, the building is also being designed with lounges and student function and informal meeting spaces for student organizations to meet and engage in their organizational activities,” she said.

The new building will have five floors of classroom space, which will complement the sixteen floors of existing classrooms in the original tower.

“It [the Redstone Building] is going to have most of the law school’s classrooms and those will all be equipped with state-of-the-art technology,” Comer-Woods said.

Architect Leland Cott of Cambridge architecture firm Bruner/Cott Architects and Planners is the head architect for the new facility, Comer-Woods said. Cott was a student of Jose Louis Sert, who designed the original LAW Tower in the early 1960s.

The Redstone Building is named after the building’s lead donor, Sumner Redstone, who is a former LAW faculty member and founder of Viacom entertainment company.

In September 2012, Redstone donated $18 million to BU for construction of the new building.

The additional facility will enhance the experiences of both BU students and BU faculty, Comer-Woods said.

“This is going to be a tremendous benefit for our students,” she said. “We have outstanding faculty and outstanding students and now we are finally going to have the physical facilities to compliment that.”

LAW professor Tamar Frankel said she is delighted to have a new workplace to look forward to after years of teaching in the original LAW Tower.

“We have been working in this building [the original Tower] in not very comfortable conditions for a long time,” she said “… This renovation is going to facilitate the productivity of both teaching and learning in this building.”

The building’s design will ease traffic and will save both students and professors time and trouble, Frankel said.

“The ability to connect to large groups of students as well as to small groups will be facilitated,” she said. “In general, this is going to be a tremendous advance.”

Second-year LAW student Drew Tobias said he hopes the new building will have better climate control than the current tower.

“The air and the heating are notoriously bad,” he said. “You learn to deal with it, but it would be nice to have a little more stability in the climate control.”

The ongoing construction has also caused trouble for LAW students over the past year, Tobias said.

“I’m excited for the new building,” he said. “The construction is a bit of the pain, blocking off the entrance to the GSU.”

Third-year LAW student Ned Nakles said there are several issues with the original LAW Tower.

“It’s definitely lacking in study space as well as in lounging space,” he said. “The library is grossly inadequate and probably one of the smallest libraries in the country, excluding the annex.”

The new building will provide more comfort and functional space for professors and students, Nakles said.

“It [the new facility] will be more pleasant,” he said. “It will raise the school’s profile.”

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