Law school opens next fall

A new $16.2 million 30,000-square foot GW Law School construction project at 20th and G streets is scheduled for completion by early to mid-October after bad weather caused construction delays, GW officials said. The building is the first of three construction phases, which will eventually expand the school to a 250,000 square feet.

The E building townhouses at 20th and G streets that GW gutted were built in 1890 and housed student group offices, admissions and financial aid. Law School Dean Tom Morrison said the offices are temporarily moved to 1819 H St.

GW broke ground for the new 30,000-square foot building last March.

“It will house deans’ offices, admissions, financial aid and 15 to 16 faculty members,” Morrison said.

The building will connect the Jacob Burns Law Library to Stuart and Lisner halls, which will house the law school in spring 2003.

Although Morrison said he hoped to have the new building completed by the beginning of classes in August, he said weather setbacks last winter pushed the deadline back.

In the second phase of construction, the law school will expand into Stuart and Lisner halls after the buildings are renovated in spring 2003, said Nancy Giammatteo, an architect in the GW’s Facilities Development office. The Elliott School of International Affairs, currently housed in Stuart and Lisner halls, will move to a new facility at 1957 E St.

In the third phase of construction, GW will build a new law library, which is still in the early planning stages, Morrison said. After the new library is finished, the Burns building will house classrooms and student lounges, Morrison said.

“Various sites are being considered for a new law library with no completion date at this time,” said Giammatteo, who said there is no set location in mind.

GW drafted the three-phase construction plan four years ago, Morrison said.

Shortly after, the University drafted plans to renovate the E building on the corner of 20th and G streets. GW offered the law school Stuart and Lisner halls when the Elliot School moves.

“They accepted, and the new building was redesigned,” Morrison said.

Other faculty and administrative offices were moved from the Burns building to the second and fourth floors of the Old Main building on F Street. They are all scheduled to move into the new building when it is finished, Morrison said.

Law school student Tom Klemm said the construction has disrupted classes.

“It is always noisy, and they had to turn the air conditioning off on the day that it was really hot,” he said.

Despite the inconveniences, Klemm said he is glad the law school is getting new facilities.

“There is such a shortage of space, and we have such great professors and students that we really should be in the top tier, rather than showing up dead last when it comes to facilities,” he said.

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