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The law school at the University of California, Davis, is now a better fit for its 610 students. A $30 million new wing has been added to the school’s building, which was intended for only 50 students when it was first built in 1968.
“We were, in effect, bursting at the seams,” Kevin R. Johnson, dean of the law school, said in a Friday interview.
A ribbon-cutting event was held Friday for the new wing, which includes six new classrooms, one of which serves as a courtroom. The law school’s building gained 18,000 more square feet with the new addition.
The new courtroom has room for 125 people and is more technologically up-to-date than the courtroom in the building’s old wing, said Pamela Wu, the law school’s director of marketing and communications.
Funding for the new wing came from $17.9 million in state bonds, $3.9 million from campus funds and $5.5 million from private donations, according to a Sept. 3 news release.
The new wing also makes the building more accessible for disabled and female students, Johnson said.
Disabled students faced difficulties entering into the building through the front door, and had to rely on the back-door as an entrance, Johnson said. The expansion has changed the building so that disabled students can enter the front door, he explained.
The new wing also provides additional women’s restrooms. When the law school opened its building more than 40 years ago, school leaders apparently didn’t envision the high percentage of female law students now attending the school.
The lack of adequate bathrooms for women has “been a huge problem,” Johnson said.
Over the last five years, about 45 to 60 percent of each entering class has been composed of women, Johnson said.
Johnson said he intends to gather $2.4 million more from sources such as foundations and private donors to pay for a remodel of the old wing of the building. He hopes the old section of the building can be remodeled by spring 2012.
UC Davis was rated 28th out of about 200 law schools by the U.S. News and World Report magazine in April, according to a UC Davis news release.
Of the top 30 law schools in the U.S. News and World Report survey, Davis’ is the youngest program, the news release said.
Photo courtesy of Sam Sellers, UC Davis School of Law
Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.