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Georgetown law students will no longer feel they are the urban pioneers of the law school world, now that the $60.7 million refurbished campus of Georgetown University Law Center will open this fall. The Law Center will create two new buildings, a 25-meter lap pool in the fitness center, wireless Internet access, a clock tower that chimes the hour, and an oasis of green across F Street, all set in a part of town, just blocks from the Capitol, that hasn’t seen this much serenity in a long time. In 1870, the founders of Georgetown University Law Center placed the school in downtown Washington, close to the courts and the government. They wanted to show that the practice of law was an art as well as an academic discipline, one that was informed by lawyers and judges as much as by academics. That commitment has remained intact. In 1971, after spending 80 years at Fifth and E streets, N.W., Georgetown built McDonough Hall at New Jersey Avenue and F Street, N.W., six blocks from the Capitol and four blocks from the judicial center of Washington. The Law Center’s move into what was then an urban wasteland, the result of the misguided urban renewal of the 1950s and ’60s, signaled that Georgetown sought to move into a modern era of legal education and to lead the city into re-establishing a vital presence in the old East End neighborhood. Now, 45 years after Edward Durrell Stone designed McDonough Hall, architects from Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott will complete the Law Center’s campus, fulfilling the dreams of former Law Center Dean Paul R. Dean and his colleagues. Between 1971 and the end of this summer, the Georgetown Law Center campus will have grown from one building to five, expanding from roughly 200,000 to a million square feet. In the interim, we enlarged McDonough Hall and built the Edward Bennet Williams Library and the Bernard and Sarah Gewirz Residence Hall. Each was an award-winning building designed by the firm of Hartman and Cox. During that same period, the Law Center rose in rankings and stature from a good law school to one of the most prestigious, academically rigorous, and acclaimed educational institutions in America. In 2000, a committee of faculty, students, and administrators invited 25 architectural firms to compete for the project. After a series of interviews, the committee selected Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott of Boston, assisted by Ellerbe Becket and Group Goetz, both of the District, to design the project. Whiting and Turner was the construction manager, brought in early in the design process to help us prepare the campus. Finally, the Law Center appointed an engineer as the internal project manager. These decisions enabled us to identify problems with construction in the design phase, and to reduce costs during each stage of the project. It also established a system in which program, budget, and engineering decisions were made in a coordinated fashion. In the late summer of 2002, Georgetown broke ground. The results of our planning are two distinct buildings connected at their main floors and to the existing Gewirz Residence Hall. The new Eric E. Hotung International Law Building is a light-colored brick and precast concrete building with a complex system of technically advanced and architecturally stunning windows. Its overhanging cornice harkens back to traditional Chinese roof motifs that we associate with the building’s donor. Hotung, a Georgetown alumnus, is an entrepreneur and philanthropist from Hong Kong. Despite its urbane exterior, the six-floor Hotung Building also conveys a classic academic sensibility. Changes in the way legal education is delivered, as well as the growth of the scholarly and teaching activities of the Georgetown faculty, have guided the interior design. State-of-the-art classrooms are on the first and second floors of the Hotung Building. A smart-podium with touch-screen controls will allow faculty members to use online and audiovisual materials. Professors will be able to display physical evidence and printed documents to the class using high-definition evidence presenters. A sophisticated sound system and optimized room acoustics will create an ideal environment for class discussions. An advanced fiber optic cable infrastructure, combined with wireless connectivity, will allow the students to tap into Internet resources in class. In addition to the larger classrooms, 10 new seminar rooms are placed throughout the building. These rooms are equipped with an advanced infrastructure for audio and video recording, Web-casting, and video conferencing. Large monitors will be used to display audiovisual materials. As in the larger classrooms, students in the seminars will be able to connect wirelessly to the Internet. These smaller classrooms will allow students to use more modern educational methods such as simulated litigation exercises, small discussion groups, and collaborative problem-solving to complement the traditional lecture method. The second floor of the Hotung Building will house a technologically advanced moot courtroom. This room will resemble the interior of the U.S. Supreme Court. Our designers replicated the unique spatial relationship between the litigant’s lectern and the justices’ bench to help lawyers gain comfort with the intimate yet overpowering nature of the Court. Because the moot courtroom will also be used for our trial advocacy program, it will contain the same complex technology used in modern federal district courts. The sophisticated audio and video recording systems will allow students to perfect their electronic trial skills by reviewing their courtroom performances with faculty members in real time. A NEW LIBRARY Georgetown’s role as a major academic center for international and comparative law has created an unprecedented number of requests from international teachers and scholars to visit our campus. It has also increased the demands from our own faculty for a comprehensive international law collection. Even in an age where so much information is stored in computer files, a strong library remains essential to an academic center. Georgetown’s international and foreign law collection will move from the Williams Library to a new International Law Library on the third and fourth floors of the Hotung Building. This new library will let us combine all our international and foreign law collections, international and foreign journals, and other related interdisciplinary materials. Tables, carrels, and lounge seating will serve almost 200 library patrons. Visiting international scholars and student study groups will find many study rooms available for their use. There will also be reference and circulations desks, online search stations and training rooms, and administrative offices for the international Law Librarian and her staff. The Hotung Building will also provide 15 offices for new and visiting faculty, emeritus and adjunct faculty, and visiting scholars. The Law Center’s various institutes and its Continuing Legal Education Program will move to the fifth floor. Two of Georgetown’s eight law journals, the International Environmental Law Review and the International Law Journal, and several student organizations will move to the first floor. The associate and assistant deans, professional staff, and support staff for our International and Graduate Programs Office will occupy space on the sixth floor. A resource library and a career services officer dedicated to international and graduate students will also be located in the suite. Finally, a graduate student lounge and mail room will be adjacent to the International Programs Office. An Alumni Welcome Center on the second floor of the Hotung Building will overlook a new Campus Green. The Welcome Center will include a library and a business center for alumni visitors. The associate vice president and the staff of the Development and Public Relations Office will also move into the first floor of the Hotung Building, along with a reception area, exhibit space, work spaces, and conference rooms. Because our campus will now resemble that of a college for undergraduates, we think the need for a student center and a sport and fitness center is important. Students today come from colleges with spacious and beautiful campuses where students and faculty gather both informally and formally. They expect state-of-the-art sport and fitness facilities and student centers. Even in urban settings, students now expect a campus atmosphere. GOOD SPORT Georgetown’s new Sport and Fitness Building is a multipurpose athletic and student center. The façade of Sport and Fitness is a four-story glass curtain wall, divided by four elegant branching columns reaching the roof. Students will enter the main floor from a brick terrace that sits between a new Campus Green and the building’s façade. The first thing they’ll see is a cyber café and grill, along with a juice and coffee bar, overlooking a four-lane lap pool. Seating will include modern dining furniture as well as comfortable, casual chairs and sofas. Special architectural details include a two-story atrium lounge reaching up to the cardio-fitness floor, a double fireplace, and a double-pool fountain to provide quiet contemplation. The first floor of the Sport and Fitness Building, below grade but with windows on the south, will contain a four-lane, 25-meter lap pool, locker rooms, whirlpools, and staff offices. Rooms for health and fitness counseling, music and art practice, laundry, and massage are also on the first floor. Two aerobics rooms, a spinning room, and a large exercise room for free-weight and cardiovascular training occupy the third floor. Patrons will choose from 80 pieces of equipment, some even equipped with computers, video, and audio. The fourth floor will house two racquetball courts and a double-height basketball court that converts to two volleyball courts. All are crowned by an intricate system of trusses that is as much a piece of art as it is a roof support. A fourth-floor outdoor balcony where patrons can cool down after a workout overlooks the new Campus Green. The Green unites the old and new buildings of the campus. It stretches across F Street, which will be closed to traffic but open to the public. The Green will provide a cool and quiet oasis in a neighborhood that has little of either. A brick and precast concrete clock tower will rise over the Green, where its chimes will add to the campus ambience. The Green, like the entire campus, will have wireless Internet connections. We expect to occupy these magnificent new buildings in fall 2004. As we prepare to use them, we remember the words of former Dean Paul Dean when he dedicated the Law Center’s McDonough Hall in 1971: “A building does not make a law school, not even a new building. A law school is produced by spiritual things. A new building simply removes an obstacle to education and thought.” We hope that these new buildings remove those obstacles to education and thought, and also advance the urban vibrancy that is returning to our neighborhood. Wallace J. Mlyniec is associate dean for clinical education and public service at Georgetown University Law Center. He is also the chairman of the law school’s Campus Completion Committee.

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