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Posted on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

U-M Law School tab for recent construction soon to reach $102M

By Kellie Woodhouse


Pedestrians make their way through the courtyard of the University of Michigan Law Quadrangle.

The University of Michigan Law School's construction surge continues with a $39 million renovation to one of the school's oldest and most prized buildings.

Architects told the University of Michigan Board of Regents Thursday that an extensive renovation to the Lawyers Club —a residence hall, lounge and dining hall housed in gothic-style buildings originally built in 1924 for $2 million— would not damage the historic integrity of the building.

"This was an enormous, enormous task," U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said. "It's one of the most precious buildings In the country."

The schematic design for the renovations was approved by the regents at their monthly meeting Thursday afternoon in the Fleming Administration Building.


Two U-M students walk out of the Law Quad in June 1937.

Photo courtesy of U-M


This 2008 artist's rendering of South Hall shows the new building, center. This view looks southeast from the corner of State and Monroe Streets.

Photo courtesy of U-M

Thumbnail image for LAW QUAD 2 OF 2 EG-1.JPG

University of Michigan Law Quad

The project is the third major construction project for the law school in recent years.

Law school administrative offices and classrooms moved into the recently built South Hall, located on Monroe Street, in October. The school this year also opened Robert. B Aikens Commons, a two-level glass roofed student gathering space built on a formerly unused courtyard.

The three projects cost a combined $102 million.

The law school is also is asking the Ann Arbor Planning Commission to close Monroe Street and replace it with a pedestrian mall.

Additionally, the university recently purchased an apartment building near the Law Quadrangle for $730,000, triple the parcel's assessed value, because of its strategic location. And in 2007 the Law Quad received a $3 million upgrade.

The renovation

Dorm rooms and lounge areas at the facility —formally called the Lawyers Club Dormitory Wing and John P. Cook Dorm Building— will get major upgrades to "foster a stronger sense of community between the law students," said T. Lee Becker, a partner with Hartman-Cox Architects, the firm designing the project.

The renovated club will have 228 single-occupancy dorm rooms and 12 lounge areas. Construction will begin in the summer and take 18 months. Renovated rooms will receive double beds and air conditioning and most will have private bathrooms. Several of the rooms already have fireplaces.

The renovation includes the restoration of the buildings' stone masonry and upgrades to the fire suppression system and technology infrastructure.

U-M Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Timothy Slottow said it was "very, very challenging" for architects to reach a design that strikes the right balance between preserving the buildings historic features and upgrading its interior.

During the 2012-2013 school year, when the building will be closed, law students will have the option of staying at a handful of off-campus houses near the Law Quad that the school has reserved for students.

"I think that is a good plan," said regent Andrew Richner, a U-M Law School graduate who lived at the Lawyers Club.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

If only more University of Michigan Police officers could be patrolling the streets protecting the students...perhaps if they wore sandwich boards promoting donors?!? Maybe an endowed Officership? I for one am eager for a shift in focus from physical resources to human resources.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

Here, I'll make it easy: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;Professor Stein's connection to the University of Michigan Law School, where he was the Hessel E. Yntema Professor of Law Emeritus, began long before he joined its faculty in 1955. He was born in 1913 in Holice, Bohemia, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Zikmund and Hermina (Zalud) Stein. By 1939 Professor Stein was already a young lawyer who had trained at Prague's prestigious Charles University. He was also a Jew. And with war in Europe looming, he found himself serving in the Czechoslovakian army. Hitler's occupation came suddenly; in an interview Professor Stein described awakening in his barracks one morning and seeing German armored personnel carriers parked in the courtyard ...&quot; This quote may seem off-topic but investing in the Law School's infrastructure is no different from investing in the Med School's infrastructure. We want all the Eric Steins out there in our own day to think Ann Arbor and UM for Law School. Renovations and a legacy library collection assist that. It's not just about STUDENTS: it's about recruiting faculty, research and clinical faculty.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

The University of Michigan Law School belongs to the WORLD. The improvements there have not been &quot;just because&quot; Ozymandias wanted his name on a residence hall dining room. It goes way way beyond in-state/out-of-state tuition. Look up the career of Propf. Eric Stein sometime. He was a bit of Wallenberg, a bit of Victor Laszlo: an internationally-acclaimed advocate of European law. Mrs. Stein is perfectly delighted with the improvements -- she &amp; Prof. were tireless supporters of investing in the future of the UM Law School. If she's happy, *I'm* happy.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

Yes, this is about vanity in part. But not the vanity of Pres. Coleman who is a gentlewoman and who is greatly considerate of the student body she serves. I've never seen a University President in recent times as engaged with the students on a daily basis and with prospective students as Pres. Coleman. The vanity is that of the donors--well-to-do alums and other rich benefactors that have a need for tax deductions and also some civic pride. They don't mind their name being affixed to a hall, facility, building or even school. Their egos probably put them in the position to become wealthy. Still, it would be a different type of woeful pride that would require the UM refuse those donations on some mistaken principle that such donor's intentions are self-serving and vain. It would be a far poorer institution indeed if the UM or any university demanded rigorous proof of pure altruistic intentions upon the donors. They give money because they want to, because they can, because it helps with the taxes and because it looks good. Whatever the reasons, the students, the community and the university will benefit from their largess. I agree with the Occupy UM protesters yesterday that the UM and all colleges need to do something about the rising costs of tuition. But, I don't know as it is the building and maintenance that is the prime driver of these costs. I also agree that this institution needs to do a better job of admitting students who reside in the State of Michigan. It has an international reputation, but it remains a publicly-owned university. If there's a problem it's that the Administration seems to forget that and thinks itself more of a private university at times. Still, as major universities go, the UM does make a good effort at trying to best serve the students it has and the proof remains in the large number of applicants and the high demand from employers for most of its graduates. So, it must be doing something right.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

The students can afford it. Higher education is something you have to pay for if you don't want to live on the streets as a destitute, uneducated, homeless person. That's my perception of the attitudes that drive this..................


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

This part of U of M serves the country, not Michigan, look at how many Michigan residents are enrolled


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

@noflamers-- is the state of Michigan suffering from a lawyer shortage? Even if you populated the entire school with local kids, the vast majority would leave immediately after graduation because they'd be able to score much higher-paying jobs in other markets. Many would return home after a few years. If the state wants smart people to stick around, there has to be an incentive to stay.

no flamers!

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

Something less than 10% of UM Law School grads stay in Michigan after graduation. The Michigan Law Schools is of course excellent, but it isn't educating Michigan's next generation of lawyers--that is now done by MSU, Wayne State, Cooley, UofD. I don't think that is right--my view is tht a state school should develop the next generation of state residents, not focusing US News rankings which cause UM to take few in-state students.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.

I take it thats sarcasm?


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 2:23 p.m.

Almost 80% of the students are from out of state. That sounds like the UM serving the families of Michigan once again.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

And here we have been told that govt NEVER creates jobs!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

I used to be pretty jaded about the massive construction projects the University has constantly been undertaking over the last 15 years. But now I believe (in most cases) these are very good investments in the long-term success of U-M. Michigan's campus has been constantly improving over the years which attracts better students, faculty, and employees. I've seen other campuses that have large numbers of dated, older buildings that pale in comparison to U-M. This will give the school a competitive advantage in the future when a lot of other colleges will experience large declines in enrollment due to the bursting of the college loan bubble and a sharp drop in numbers of qualified applicants.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

Thanks to the university for continuing to maintain and extend their wonderful facilities, mainly through private donations. The fate of Ann Arbor is closely tied to the fate of the university in the future. I also appreciate the local jobs these projects create. Go Blue!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1 p.m.

This series of renovations and new construction are long overdue and necessary for the continued excellence that the UM Law School provides. Continued investment in the infrastructure of facilities is extremely important for longevity of the buildings and the safety of the students. What's missing in this story is that the majority of the money for these renovations came from private sources. President Coleman and the current Regents of UM are wise to invest in the bricks and mortar of the unversity while still providing the highest level of education to its students and attracting research dollars to the community. This construction also provides numerous construction jobs for the community. Well done!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

Mary Sue Coleman said. &quot;It's one of the most precious buildings In the country.&quot; A good example of how one's ego can get totally divorced from reality. Especially when surrounded by &quot;yes&quot; people. Vote for new regents.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.

Mary Sue is one of the best things to happen to Umich. Do you even know how much money she's raised for the college since she came here? Over $4 Billion in a single campaign!


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

$102 million is equivalent to nearly $100,000 for every student enrolled in the law school and nearly $5,000 for every alumnus ever produced. This is about vanity and the legacy of President Coleman. The Roman emperors used to do the same thing so that their fame could live on after them. Every year for the last decade the UM has spent $500 million on construction and renovations, equivalent to $12,000 per student. Even if half of that comes from donations, that has to have a dramatic affect on tuition. During tough economic times it seems like the administration should tighten its belt and make a UM education available to more Michigan citizens. Vote for new Regents.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

Are you aware how much money the law school gets from the university? And vice-versa? The non-law students will not be feeling this even a little bit.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

$70M of the $102M cost of the project was donated by alumni and friends.