Governor Nathan Deal signed into law Tuesday a state budget that includes $58.8 million in bonds allocated to constructing a new building for Georgia State University College of Law.
The law building was included in Deal’s original fiscal year 2014 budget proposal and maintained support throughout the budget’s negotiations during the 2013 General Assembly, which ended March 28.
“Scores of people have supported this building project for many years, which makes it rewarding to have reached this important benchmark in the process,” said Steven J. Kaminshine, dean of the College of Law. “Bolstered by this critical state funding, our new building will have transformative implications for the college, from providing state-of-the-art learning spaces to collaborative gathering space for Atlanta’s legal community.”
The state bond issue, coupled with a recent Robert W. Woodruff Foundation grant of $5 million and other gifts, allows Georgia State to begin construction on the building at the corner of John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and Park Place. The remaining funding needed for the $82.5 million project — for furnishings, technology and interior finishing — will come from private contributions.
The Urban Life Building, current home of the College of Law, was never designed to be a legal education facility and has been retrofitted over the years to serve the needs of the growing school. The new building will be the first dedicated to the law school at Georgia State and will nearly double the square footage for instruction, collaboration and meeting space.
Approved designs include flat floor, tiered and seminar classrooms, a 230-seat auditorium and courtroom with judge and jury boxes and three smaller moot courtrooms for practical skills training. The lower level will feature a conference center with breakout rooms, while the top two floors will showcase a collaborative library space. The library designs showcase a learning area with café and lounge area, a formal reading room, media classrooms and enclosed study rooms.
With this funding in place, groundbreaking for the building could begin as early as this fall. The building could open to students in 2015. Project partners include architects from SmithGroup and Stevens & Wilkinson, construction management from McCarthy and program management by Jones Lang LaSalle.