Law School addition to be completed by May, called ‘success story’

Eric Johnson

More than 20 years after the original plans were drawn up for a new Law School addition, the final phase of the construction is expected to be completed this May.
The addition, part of the original Law School plan, wasn’t constructed with the rest of the school in 1978 due to budget constraints. The 2001 version will include expanded meeting areas, seminar classrooms and computer access, things not penciled in on the original design.
“This is basically the same plan, but it is more accommodating to current academic standards,” said Eric Overgard, a representative of Ryan Construction Company.
Included in the new version is the Concourse, an indoor central corridor that will serve as a hub for student and staff interaction. It will be decorated with street lights and trees.
“The Concourse will open up space and serve as a main street for the different centers and institutes of the Law School,” said Martha Martin, the school’s director of development.
A restaurant in a new commons area will provide even more gathering space.
Construction of the addition overcame challenges posed by groundwater contamination in the area, said Gordon Girtz, a Department of Environmental Health and Safety official.
The pollution concerns stem from the subterranean vestiges of an old Minneapolis Gas Works tank buried under the ballfield north of the Law School. The contamination seeps through the porous limestone and into the water.
Using a device called a “sniffer,” technicians sampled the air near the construction site to detect any harmful particles. They also tested soil and water.
The addition has been wrapped with an impermeable barrier to prevent contaminants from leeching into the building.
After three years of planning and budgeting to ensure safety, Girtz called the addition “a good example of a success story.”
A dedication ceremony for the addition is slated for May 17.

Eric Johnson covers the Law School and welcomes comments [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3235