UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law celebrated the start of construction of its University Park building with a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday. The ceremony took place at the site of the school’s future home along Bigler Road, north of Park Avenue. The building is part of the University’s $110 million plan for new, completely interconnected law school facilities in Carlisle and University Park.
Penn State President Graham B. Spanier, Cynthia A. Baldwin, chair of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, and Philip J. McConnaughay, dean of The Dickinson School of Law, led the ceremony. The architectural firm designing the project, Polshek Partnership Architects, LLP, was represented by partners Richard M. Olcott and Timothy P. Hartung. Pedro A. Cortes, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a 1999 graduate of The Dickinson School of Law, also participated in the ceremony. A reception followed in the Presidents Hall of The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.
“The law school is thrilled to commence construction on what will be a world-class home for one of the nation’s finest law schools,” McConnaughay said.
In September, the University’s Board of Trustees approved final designs for the three-story University Park facility, which will be situated adjacent to the future University arboretum and in close proximity to the Business and Forest Resources buildings. The building will feature amenities such as a striking glass-enclosed library and reading room, study and gathering spaces, a law clinic for pro bono legal services, a 250-seat auditorium and a high-tech courtroom. The law school expects to occupy the new facility in January 2009. Until that time, the Beam Building on Park Avenue is serving as the law school’s home at University Park.
The law school recently announced that year-end gifts earmarked for its Carlisle building have brought that portion of the project total to $50 million. Polshek Partnership is currently working on designs for the Carlisle facility that will include the renovation of Trickett Hall, the law school’s home since 1918. The law school hopes to host a groundbreaking for the Carlisle facility in late spring or early summer.